Release Date: September 9, 2016
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Release Format: Theatrical
Let me just clarify something; I think Clint Eastwood is a better director than he is an actor. That isn’t to say that he hasn’t pulled off some fun and even great performances over the years. I just believe his talent as a director far outweighs his talent as an actor. That being said, as much as I love him in the director’s chair, I found myself absolutely despising his last film, American Sniper. Look, I have respect for Chris Kyle and everything he went through in his career. Any death is tragic and his was no exception. I just thought the movie was terrible. Funny enough, I’m the guy who likes Eastwood’s “not so critically acclaimed films.” J. Edgar, Hereafter, Changeling; I love them all. So with Sully, I was hoping Eastwood could bring his magic back to the big screen. I’m so happy to say that he did.
Sully recounts the true story of Chesley Sullenberger, the man who landed Flight 1549 on the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, due to engine loss. Incidentally, the event was known as the “Miracle On The Hudson”, as no lives were lost in the landing. However, Sullenberger found himself grilled shortly afterwards by the insurance company because they insisted that he could have made it back to the airport. Going through every scenario in his head, he had to prove to them that this was simply not possible.
Sully is a psychological journey into the mind of a career pilot. We see him hailed as a hero and yet he doesn’t see himself as one. As far as he was concerned, he was just doing his job. We see his struggle through the event as well as his emotional struggle after the fact. The scenes where he is questioning himself and going over the scenarios in his head really gives the audience insight into his character. It’s easy to see through these scenes that this man knew what he was doing and that flying was his life. This makes it even more heartbreaking when he begins to doubt himself and his skills as a pilot.
The cinematography in Sully is brilliant. The plane sequences are incredibly well handled and look spectacular. Another thing Clint Eastwood has always been good at is immersing you in the environment of his films. Clint Eastwood’s directing style makes you feel like you are on the plane with the passengers and, at times, in the cockpit with Sully himself. The man has a brilliant eye for detail and does an outstanding job at recreating this event. In addition, the pacing in Sully is immaculate. It moves at such a brisk pace. Short, simple and to the point, clocking in at just under an hour and a half long.
I could go on about how amazing Tom Hanks is in this movie but there’s honestly no point. Tom Hanks is brilliant in anything, no matter what the role. I don’t care how bad Mazes & Monsters is, he’s awesome in it. As far as the role of Sully is concerned, I foresee an oscar nomination in his future. Aaron Eckhart does a terrific job at playing Sully‘s co-pilot, Jeff Skiles. Honestly, it’s just good to see him in a great role again after dreck like I, Frankenstein.
Now, there are some issues with the film. The biggest problem is that while the scenes are great, much of this movie, especially in regards to the crash, takes place out of linear order. Therefore, when it cuts to something that happened previously, it tends to get a bit jarring at times. There were some moments where the passage of time is unclear and where exactly some of these events took place. It is easy to figure out after a few moments but it is jarring nonetheless. Another problem I had was with Laura Linney playing Sully‘s wife. Her performance was absolutely fine, the problem was that Sully‘s wife didn’t have much purpose within the story. As a result, she seemed to only be there as someone for Sully to call up every 20 minutes to tell her that he’s “okay.”
Overall, Sully is not Eastwood’s best film but it is a great one. It has emotional performances, good cinematography, and wonderful pacing. What Eastwood delivers is a well-done character study of a man who succeeded despite all odds against him, only to have his sanity and competence questioned by people who were not there. If you’re looking for something deep and moving for your money, Sully is definitely one to seek out.
- Great Performances
- Immaculate Pacing
- Wonderful Cinematography
- Good Storytelling
- Laura Linney's Character Is A Little Pointless
- Some Jarring Cuts Here And There
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.