Film Review: Sully – 8/10

‘Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time…’

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If I had to pick one thing that I would change about cinema, it wouldn’t be a decree that forces all filmmakers to include Paul Rudd. It wouldn’t be a law that states that Michael Bay is no longer allowed to make feature films. It wouldn’t even be the immediate reinstatement of Han Solo to the Star Wars franchise. No, if I could change one thing about cinema, it would be to make films shorter. I’m so sick of having to sit around for over two hours to watch a story that could and should have been told in 90 minutes.

And so… to Sully.

Sully is the true story of American pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenburger (Tom Hanks) and his dalliance with fame and scrutiny after successfully landing a damaged plane on the Hudson river without harming anyone on board. Joining Hanks is Aaron Eckhart as Sully’s co-pilot Jeff Skiles, Laura Linney as Mrs. Sully – Lorrie Sullenburger – and various other character actors who you recognise but whose names you don’t know.

I should say that I watched this movie as part of a self imposed Tom Hanks season that I have recently embarked upon in an effort to have seen all of his major works. An all-American hero like Sully is not a role that is a stretch for Hanks but that is not to say that he isn’t bursting from the seams with heroism or that he isn’t as eminently watchable as usual. Despite this not being a million miles away from other military-type roles that Hanks has performed, this is still a compassionate and compelling turn from Hanks. He is helped along with a strong performance from his co-stars with Aaron Eckhart particularly impressive, bringing a quiet charisma to the role of Jeff Skiles.

The key to the success of Sully lies with neither Hanks or Eckhart but rather with the director. Ladies and gentlemen… Clint Eastwood. By keeping the running time just about 90 minutes, Eastwood has eliminated all the unnecessary flab from his movie and Sully is all the better for it. This regard for time management, coupled with an understated but effective amount of special effects and CGI, ensures that Eastwood and Hanks are able to concentrate on the more human side of the story rather than cheap tricks and big explosions.

The story behind the Hudson river miracle is a fantastical one. The director and talented cast of Sully have successfully produced a film that does justice to an extraordinary story. It’s good to know that Eastwood’s still got it.

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