Clint Eastwood is a special kind of person. He’s both charming as an actor and quite productive as a director. Ever since his debut behind the camera in 1971 with the cult-classic Play Misty for me, he’s been one of the most consistent movie directors working in America.
He’s not the best, nor will he ever be, but his movies are often as simple as they are effective in storytelling and character development.
The same goes for Sully – not to be mistaken with the blue furry guy from Monsters, Inc. (his last name is Sullivan but everyone calls him ‘Sulley’) or the leading hero from Avatar (Jake Sully is the name) – nope, the ‘Sully’ from this movie isn’t some fantasy-creature … yet his story is just as entertaining and fantastic (well, almost) as the others.
Sully tells the true story of American pilot Chesley Sullenberger who became a hero after he landed his aircraft on the river Hudson, saving all 155 passengers from a certain death. We’ve all seen the footage on the news and remember the heroics of a man who claimed ‘he just did his job’, but what he accomplished was undoubtedly nothing short of a miracle.
Tom Hanks, who’s just as comfortable in comedy as in drama, plays the older man to perfection. Despite his long career of insanely versatile roles, he comfortably disappears into the character as soon as you see him on screen. Not for one second do you ever doubt his on-screen acting.
Standing by his side is Aaron Eckhart who may be caught in the shadow a bit, but nonetheless shines just as much, playing the part of co-pilot Jeff Skiles. He shakes things up a bit, as his character – though mostly serious as the situation calls for it – isn’t afraid to squeeze in a little joke or a witty remark, often followed by the tiniest of smiles.
The pairing of the two men is wonderfully done by both actors and the casting crew, but most of the kudos has to go to master-storyteller Clint Eastwood.
He does not sell out and turn this drama into an action-packed blockbuster of over-exaggerated American patriotism. No, he simply tells the story as is. He keeps things deliberately modest and plain (get it … plain? Coz there’s a plane!) and breaks down the story with amazing patience and composure.
Of course, you are treated to a rollercoaster of screaming passengers, burning engines and ever-changing altitude … it is after all quite an adventure!
Besides, no one got hurt in the end, so that makes it easier to watch all those people in fear, saying their prayers and hiding under their seats.
But most of the story delves deep into the psychosis of both men, and the nasty investigation they were up against. The media firestorm that followed, the cheering of the common folk of how Sully is a modern American hero, and the uphill battle of one man trying everything he can to keep his reputation and career intact.
The power of Sully lies within its simplicity. The simple storytelling … the first-rate acting … the incredible reality of watching a plane nosediving into a city of millions of people … and a story that’ll grab you firmly by the throat and won’t let go until you see the end credits and the uplifting footage of the actual pilots, flight crew and passengers of Flight 1549.
Did you know?
Ferry Captain Vincent Lombardi, who was the captain of the first ferry to reach the plane, played himself in the movie.
Give it to me short:
Sully tells the true story of American aviator Chesley Sullenberger who managed to do the impossible: land a damaged plane full of passengers on water without a single casualty. The way director Clint Eastwood brings this modern miracle to life is done with a soothing poise and an experienced calmness.
Actors Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart show a side of themselves which is neither fantastic nor out-of-this-world. They simply focus on the human element, and keep things very down-to-earth.
All things considered, this is one movie you might easily forget, but it’s exactly this kind of low profile that gives it a certain charm. You cannot escape the narrow death inside the cockpit, nor the unease of having to stand closely together on the wings waiting for help, or the near-embarrassing investigation into the how & why of this tragedy.
Sometimes less is more … and Sully is a movie that becomes more powerful by keeping things real and raw! A little gem, but not to be missed!