FRIDAY NIGHT/MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: On Friday I saw “Sully,” which stars Tom Hanks (Toy Story, Forrest Gump), Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight, Olympus Has Fallen), Mike O’Malley (Yes Dear [TV series], Concussion), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad [TV series], Enemy of the State), Jamey Sheridan (Law & Order: Criminal Intent [TV series], Spotlight), and Laura Linney (The Truman Show, Mystic River). It is directed by Clint Eastwood (American Sniper, Gran Torino), with the screenplay being written by Todd Komarnicki (Perfect Stranger, Resistance). Based on a true story, this film follows air pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Hanks), who saves the passengers aboard his plane when he has to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River. Although he is viewed as a hero by the public, the government questions his reasoning, subjecting him to many trials and meetings to go over the landing.
As a director, Clint Eastwood has done a reasonable job. He’s ranged from the greats like “Gran Torino,” but also had sub-par entries such as “Jersey Boys.” Although his directing career is spotty, he is still a trustworthy filmmaker, and hearing that he was pairing up with Tom Hanks to make a film seemed too hard to pass up. The idea seemed fresh enough, so I took the bait. I wouldn’t consider “Sully” to be great, nor would I consider it awful. There are many components to it that boast an Oscar contender feel, such as the acting, cinematography, and color palate, but something about the story didn’t sit well with me, and here’s why. I don’t remember the landing of the Hudson all too well. I was only eleven, so the news probably didn’t appeal to me, but hearing of it in preparation for this release sparked interest. I wanted to know what was going through the minds of the pilots and passengers and maybe even get some heavy drama with the aftermath of the event. Even though I got what I asked for, everything was placed in a jumbled order. We don’t start with Sully heading to the plane that will eventually take him to the river, but instead we see him waking up after the event happened. Sure, this could go on for five, maybe ten minutes, and then go into a chronological order starting with the emergency landing, but no; we proceed with what we are given. Don’t get me wrong, this film was engaging. There may have been moments where dialogue seemed to drag or scenes carried on for far too long, but for the most part I wasn’t discouraged by what I was seeing. However, I became disengaged with the narrative quite often when the flick would jump around in time. How this film works is that it plops you down in a specific time in Sully’s story surrounding the landing. You see this point in time for roughly fifteen minutes, becoming involved with what is going on, but get immediately pulled away and thrown into another place on the timeline, which spreads as far back as some random flashback of Sully piloting his first aircraft. I can see where the writer was going when he crafted the script, but the end results didn’t suit well when pieced together in the editing room. Of course, the chronological style can become repetitive amongst movies when creating a story, but when it comes to tales like this one, putting things in order is key. The climax would’ve held more weight, and there would be plenty of time for the audience to grow with Sully instead of observe random pieces of time as if they were viewing evidence in a crime scene. Besides that issue, I would say that this film did fairly well. I enjoyed the acting, with Tom Hanks doing great as usual and Aaron Eckhart playing a fun role. Anna Gunn also took part in this, but like many of the other cast members, she wasn’t given many lines. When it comes to the characters and development, there’s not much I can comment on. Sully is really the only figure this movie takes time in fleshing out, with everyone else portraying pawns on a chess board. Sully’s wife’s main purpose is to be at home and talk on the phone, Aaron Eckhart is a confidant/comic relief, and Anna Gunn plays the secondary “villain” role, leaving the main up to a guy I can’t remember the name of. It’s not the best feature when dealing with characters, but the conflict in this plot is what holds me captive, and it was well-written in the sense of dealing with a dark side of this miracle of an event. The final scenes in which Sully is facing trial are some of the best, besides the landing on the Hudson River, and there were other scenes that I took joy in seeing. I love Eastwood’s color tones his films, always reaching for a subtle Zack Snyder look with many grays and light blues, as well as some of the camera work. The handiwork in modeling this release is professional and fantastic, but the story is where all of the issues lie. If you’re looking for a new movie with an interesting event to center around, I’d point you to this one, but otherwise, there isn’t too much excitement or grit that would prompt me to implore you to go. FINAL SCORE: 81%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: