Sully is Clint Eastwood being Clint Eastwood. It shows that the legendary director can make movies that are incredibly layered out of simple characters and extraordinary situations. Sully tells the story of the 2009 Hudson River crash landing, where Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger made the call to land US Airways Flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River after the plane struck a large flock of geese, which damaged the engine.
His action saved the lives of hundreds. The film starts with the crash before slowly taking off to introduce Sullenburger as an ordinary man, who became a working-class hero by simply doing his job. It creates this idea that everybody can be a hero, and in a time when the world seems to have turned exceptionally violent, it’s an important and potent message.
Tom Hanks, at his usual best, shines brightly in this role. He expertly navigates his way through the half-biopic, half-dramatised retelling of the water landing and the hot seats of courtrooms and inquest chambers following the landing. Aaron Eckhart as First Officer Jeff Skiles, who helped glide the plane to safety, matches the solid performance of Hanks.
The two aren’t portraying characters, as every scene is a real-life situation, expertly brought to life by these incredible actors. Hanks seem to have a firm grasp on giving life to a character, without ever turning the whole thing into a narrative of praise singing. He plays a hero, without creating someone with a god complex. The film has many glimpses to what happened in the cockpit during the Hudson landing.
These raw and human emotions on display is what makes the film an incredible competitor in this week’s release schedule. The film doesn’t rely on cinematic spectacle or exorbitant crash landing scenes or even special effects. The plane merely serves as a launching pad for a great drama film. It’s also worth mentioning that the entire exercise never turns into an action spectacle, but rather flips from a courtroom drama to a portrait into the human mind. The film is simply a tribute to an ordinary man, who pulled off an extraordinary feat, but it’s certainly worth watching.