It’s Time for a flashback, Sully (2016)

sully12009 spoiler:  Everything turns out alright and everybody’s okay on Flight 1549, even though Tom Hanks crashes a plane into a river.  But that’s no surprise, because Sully (2016) depicts a real story from a while back, one which nobody remembers.  I can’t remember too much about it, even though the hype for this movie reminds us that it was all over the news.  After I watched the trailer, I wondered if there was enough material for a whole movie.  Well, there is, but barely.  

The movie is well-made, and Clint Eastwood directs it expertly.  It’s fairly dramatic, as you might expect and it doesn’t feel too overdone.  However, like the real story, I don’t think this movie will stay with us for very long.  It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just not the next Oscar winner.  At 96 minutes, it’s not all that long either, but the movie tries to build some relationship drama to fill time and it mostly falls flat.

Many critics have commented that knowing what happens doesn’t spoil the drama when they show the plane crash, but it does affect it.  I mean, there’s no getting around it.  Maybe that’s why Clint Eastwood arranges his movie with flashbacks and sidetrips instead of just a simple chronological movie.  I guess it would work either way, because the flashbacks aren’t confusing.

sully2Tom Hanks has this innate appeal which makes him a great choice for this role.  When he’s under heavy scrutiny, we root for him.  He’s a hero.  No doubt about it, the movie needs us to believe in Tom Hanks for it to work.  It works really  hard to do that.  There are dream sequences to show us how damaged his character is.  There are investigations into the flight and the movie makes us question our hero.  

Problem is, I don’t remember there being any controversy.  Most of it is Sully’s imagination, because he’s really dreaming of Katie Couric interrogating him like a military dictator.  That’s good for continuity’s sake, but I’m not sure what the point of it was, other than to try to give the movie more runtime.  

Overall, this is a decent film.  Tom Hanks does some good work.  It reminds me of his performance from Captain Phillips, though a little more subdued.  I like the way they handled the crash scene, and it’s not glorified or overdramatic.  Too bad everybody else is wasted.  The nightmares are interesting filler, and the drama is pretty good.  Ho hum.