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Miracle of the Sully

Fall movie season wouldn't be complete without a Tom Hanks Oscar baity type role. Enter the movie Sully where he teams up with another Oscar caliber director in Clint Eastwood. Sully tells the tale of the aftermath of the "Miracle on the Hudson" where Captain Chesley Sullenberger and co-pilot Jeff Skiles successfully landed their damaged plane on the Hudson River without any human casualties. Anyone reading this review should be old enough to remember what happened, but none of us know the story behind the scenes, and that's what Sully seeks to tell.

Sully begins when the story we know ends, as Captain Sullenberger is being investigated by insurance agencies who are seeking to know if he did everything he could to prevent having to resort to landing on the Hudson River. They believe that he could have returned to the airport with the plane undamaged instead of destroying it in their crash landing and risking the lives of the passengers. Sully's recollection of the events is told in flashbacks as Eastwood seeks to answer the question of what really happened. It plays out as a weird spiritual sequel to Apollo 13...that's set in interrogation offices and the majority of what is happening is...talking, as the insurance reps try to figure out the real story of what went wrong. It's kind of an odd film to watch because the most interesting part is the flashbacks, yet they don't hold much suspense because we know it turns out okay since Sully is the one remembering them.

The film is anchored by Tom Hanks's performance. The guy is pretty much a pro at this type of role by now, but he gets some nice help from Aaron Eckhart (really nice to see him in a good movie again.) Laura Linney is relegated to the "worried wife on the phone" role and is pretty much wasted here. Everyone else is pretty two dimensional which makes the ending not quite as earned as it wants to be. It feels way too tidy and left the film off on a note that just seemed too hero worshippy to me. I would have liked the film to have been a little more complex, with more moral gray to be explored. But that wasn't really the movie Eastwood wanted to make. RATING: 7/10

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