Review: SULLY (2016) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Review: SULLY (2016)

Review: SULLY (2016)

Based on the memoir Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters by Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow, SULLY recounts the story behind the "Miracle on the Hudson", in which Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) miraculously landed the US Airways Flight 1549 in the freezing waters of the Hudson River following a collision with the birds. Despite saving all 155 passengers and crew on board, Sully and his first officer Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) find themselves under the investigation of the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) over Sully's questionable decision of executing an emergency landing in the river rather than attempting to divert the plane back to the airport.

REVIEW: The "Miracle on the Hudson" incident that occurred on January 2009 is certainly the kind of story worth telling for. But it also poses a significant question: how do you make a movie out of a true story where the flight only lasted 208 seconds after running through a flock of birds and causes both engines to fail? 

Well, interestingly enough, director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Todd Komarnicki manage to overcome most of the odds by detailing the story of the plane accident and its aftermath in a lean 96 minutes. If you are expecting a traditional biopic, this is not the kind of movie you're looking for. Given the fact that Eastwood has made the right move with his economical direction, the same cannot be said with his certain visual depiction on Sully's nightmares of plane crashes. It feels like an unnecessary filler that doesn't match the stripped-down tone of the drama.

While the visual recreation of the plane accident is nearly seamless and has its fair share of tension-filled moments, it was the aftermath that packed the most suspense and dramatic urgency. Look out for the final scene alone, which involves the hearing between the NTSB and Sully as well as Skiles.

Review: SULLY (2016)

But of course, none of these would have worked if not for Tom Hanks' committed performance as Sully. His character may have been one-dimensional since the movie hardly goes in-depth about his personal life. However, Hanks still manage to bring a level of subtlety that combines his trademark everyman persona and modesty to his character whereby his action isn't sensationalised, but rather depicting a man who can handle situation calm under pressure like a true professional. In fact, Hanks able to pull off successfully without the need of being showy to make his presence felt.

Although Hanks steals most of the show here, his co-star Aaron Eckhart is no slouch either as he able to deliver a strong support as Sully's trusted first officer Jeff Skiles. Too bad Eastwood wasted Laura Linney as Sully's worried wife, who spends all the time talking on the phone with her husband while doesn't give her much space to expand her otherwise thankless character.

Despite a few shortcomings, director Clint Eastwood manages to create a trim yet engaging story of the "Miracle on the Hudson" while Tom Hanks delivers an award-worthy performance as Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger.

* This review is written courtesy from Warner Bros. Malaysia press screening *

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