REVIEW: Sully

Review by Dustin Heller

Sully is the new film starring Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger that portrays the events from US Airways Flight 1549 that crash landed on the Hudson River in New York City on January 15, 2009.  The film is directed by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, American Sniper) and written by Todd Komarnicki which is based upon the autobiography Highest Duty by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow.  Along with Hanks, the film also stars Aaron EckhartLaura LinneyMike O’Malley, and Anna GunnSully is rated PG-13 for some peril and brief strong language, and is being released in conventional and IMAX theaters.

On January 15, 2009, US Airways pilots Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffery Skiles board US Airways Flight 1549 departing from LaGuardia Airport.  The Airbus A320 takes flight and almost immediately runs into a flock of Canadian Geese disabling both engines.  It is now up to the pilots to act fast and make dire decisions in the face of disaster for all 155 people on-board the flight.  Going off of his gut reaction, Captain Sullenberger decides to the land the plane in the freezing cold waters of the Hudson River instead of trying to make it back to LaGuardia.  The plane lands safely and all 155 lives are spared, but an investigation ensues which could ruin Sully’s reputation and his career.  Is Sully a hero or were his actions reckless?  Did he act irresponsibly by not attempting to get back to the airport?  These are the questions that will be answered as events of the flight are put under a microscope by the department of transportation.

Sully is an action-packed thrill ride with a top shelf performance from Tom Hanks, but the film has a hard time filling its hour and half run time.  I mention that because the movie felt short in the first place and the fact that they showed the events of the crash twice really seemed unnecessary, even though it was really cool.  I would never downplay such a miraculous event, but by the end of the film it almost felt like overkill.  The story itself is fairly simple, but it does a good job of giving the viewer a peek inside Captain Sullenberger’s head during this extraordinary time.  This is all brought to life by another award-worthy performance from Hanks, who really shows his range in this complex role.  Aside from Hanks and Eckhart, I felt that some of the acting was pretty sloppy and came across as cheesy.  I’ve had this issue with Eastwood films in the past and this is no exception.  He seems diligent on the details and the key players, but somewhat careless with his supporting cast.  All that to say that he’s got a feel good movie that is going to be a big hit with audiences all across the country.  Sully is packed with excitement and big special effects and is definitely worthy of being seen on the big screen.

Grade:  B+

Sully opens in theaters on Friday, September 9.