SULLY review

Tom Hanks, the man’s name speaks volumes and has been a cinematic icon for kids and adults, spanning generations. Everyone’s got at least one movie of his that you love or know is great. CAST AWAY. BRIDGE OF SPIES. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. BIG. The list goes on. Not only a wonderful actor, but a really cool person himself. Who doesn’t love this guy?

Now we have his latest outing. This story is pretty well-known in America, but for those of you out of the country, this is based on true events. In 2009, an airplane carrying 155 passengers had to make an emergency landing in a huge river after flying into a flock of birds. The plane’s pilot, Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger, III, the man this movie is based on, safely landed the plane in the river and every passenger survived, eventually being called an American hero. Well, that’s the long and short of what you can easily find on Wikipedia. As it is, the movie seems to be taking a more in depth look at the incident that may not be known to even the general American public. Needless to say, this is probably a pretty anticipated movie.

But there’s some additional talent that’s equally worth noting. Aaron Eckhart co-stars as Sully’s co-pilot Jeff Skiles. Eckhart is also one of my favorite actors, having been in one of the best comic movies of all time, THE DARK KNIGHT (2008), and some other big hits like THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (2005) and OLYMPUS and LONDON HAS FALLEN (2013 and 2016 respectively), and keep an eye out for him in the upcoming film, BLEED FOR THIS. Also, Laura Linney. Oh my god, one of my favorites- you know, this film has a lot of my favorites in here…- for as long as I can remember. She’s been in one of my favorite rom-coms, LOVE ACTUALLY (2003), as well as some other films like MYSTIC RIVER (2003) and this year’s TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS, as well as the hit TV show, THE BIG C. Other included actors are Anna Gunn, and Mike O’Malley. Gunn’s been in this year’s EQUITY, but is most famous for her role in hit TV show, BREAKING BAD. O’Malley’s been in the movie CONCUSSION (2015), but will probably be most recognized from his TV work, GLEE and MY NAME IS EARL.

Now let’s mention the crew. The head honcho this time around is famed western bad-ass turned Oscar winning director, Clint Eastwood. Y’all know him and love him, he needs no intro, so let’s move on and accept that he’s going to do a wonderful job. Penning the screenplay is Todd Komarnicki. A relatively inexperienced writer with only two credits under his name. RESISTANCE (2003) and PERFECT STRANGER (2007), neither film getting the warmest critical reception, though this looks to be his best work. Finally, the director of photography is Tom Stern. This man has been involved with some pretty decent work over the years, including THE HUNGER GAMES (2012), but has also frequently collaborated with Eastwood in such films as AMERICAN SNIPER (2014), INVICTUS (2009), and GRAN TORINO (2008).

I guess because the trailer looks a little choppy, not really acknowledging if this movie is told chronologically, or in flashback, so I really don’t know what to expect. I doubt it makes any real difference, a good story is a good story, but the trailers aren’t making it very interesting. But I am expecting a good movie and it is one of movies I’m looking forward to this weekend. How does it hold up, though?

This is my honest opinion of: SULLY

(SUMMARY)

Chronicling the 2009 incident when US Airways Flight 1549, carrying 155 passengers, forced-landed into the Hudson River, and thanks to the efforts of Captain Sully (Tom Hanks), every passenger was accounted for and survived, and Sully being called an American hero. However, the National Transportation Safety Board, through computers and simulations, believe that Sully’s landing on top of the river was pointless and needlessly put the lives of everyone on board in senseless danger.

(REVIEW)

I want to go on record here and say to whoever is working on WordPress’ app, I was nearly done writing this review the first time and the app somehow didn’t save all my progress. Please fix this glitch so even if I close out of the app, it’ll automatically save my post. This is the second time I’ve had to write this review and I’m not happy about that.

Sorry, dear readers, let’s carry on to the actual review.

This movie was solid. Not great, not even very good. Just… solid. Considering how RottenTomatoes gives it an 83% and IMDb has given it an 8.0/10 (both as of 10:45PM 9/11/2016), I’m probably in the minority here. So, keeping with the theme of the story, I’m here to plead my case.

One of my smaller issues was that this movie didn’t always know how to use flashback scenes properly, or how to transition into their intended subject matter very well. For example, there’s two flashback scenes. One that goes into Sully’s boyhood and how he got into flying planes in the first place, and the second depicting him in a fighter jet. Neither of these scenes work because they don’t add anything to his character. In dialog, we know that Sully’s been a career pilot for forty years. These flashbacks almost give the impression that it was trying to be a biopic of his life, instead of telling the story of the incident itself. The majority of these flashbacks do just that, showing what Sully was doing before he got on the plane, and adding some much needed faces and names to some of the passengers. We don’t get to dive too deep into them, but no individual passenger is the focus, so this is alright. My issue with them is that these flashbacks appear randomly in the story. I don’t even think I can recall anything specific because they happen so suddenly. And is it my imagination, but are the scenes with Sully and Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) in the cockpit shown twice in the movie, just one with more detail? That seemed really unnecessary to me.

But if those were my biggest issues with the movie, it’d have been downright great. I’ve given five out of fives for worse. But the absolute biggest problem, the cardinal sin of the movie… is the story itself. Really think about this. The whole premise of the film is that the Board is essentially telling Sully that their sims and computers and whatever are saying that the plane could have reaches a runway not too far out, but he instead put the plane in the Hudson River and put the passengers in needless danger. But… they say this without doing a thorough investigation of Sully’s entire testimony. Sully said that they lost both engines when the birds struck. These Board guys are constantly saying “we’re investigating,” “we’re looking into it,” but they never even find the second engine until much later in the movie. They don’t act like professionals that are doing their job. They’re being passed off as villains of the movie that are trying to get Sully fired from ever flying again, and that’s not what this movie needed. And I guess you can debate that’s still not what the movie succeeded in delivering. They know that Sully said that the second engine was damaged, they don’t have a second engine to look at yet, and they just write Sully off as a drunk or mentally unstable man, despite this obviously not being the case. Hell, they never even listened to the flight recorder! Don’t you think these steps should be taken before taking it into a giant room full of people that will weigh in on Sully’s professional fate?!

I get the feeling that this was heavily dramatized. I have this sinking suspicion that the real events were played out much less theatrically. It was probably closer to, “Yeah, you landed the plane on the river. That seems fishy to me, but we’ll investigate this second engine once we’ve fished it out and get back to you.” Man, this whole story took me right out of it and didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

But I don’t want to make it sound like the movie is all bad. It really isn’t. The performances are all wonderful. Hanks and Eckhart both perfectly convey men that survived an ordeal that not many people experience and walk away from. An equal sense of fear, relief, happiness, terror, guilt, pride, it all comes off beautifully in their performance, Hanks obviously getting the brunt of the best work, but Eckhart gets his by having a pretty funny closing joke for the movie. And seriously, I’m not used to a mustache-toting Eckhart, but that ‘stache needs an Oscar nom right freakin’ now. Damn sexy, that face fuzz. But honestly, everyone was great and believable. I wish they’d shown a scene with Sully reuniting with his wife Lorraine (Laura Linney) because the last time you see her in this movie is with her sobbing like crazy. Not that this is a bad thing, but please show a scene with them hugging or something. Linney sure can break your heart when she’s crying, but damn, she’s got a smile that makes Heaven jealous. Show it!

And they really nailed that forced-landing scene (in the spirit of respecting the man that saved 155 lives, I’m going to call it a “forced-landing” as opposed to a “crash”). It’s intense and definitely got my knuckles whiter than glue. I love flying in planes. I don’t do it often, but this made crashing terrifying, as well as it should have. Not all plane mishaps can be fun and hilarious like in MADAGASCAR 2 (2008).

Honestly, that’s what holds the movie together: the acting. Even as dramatizations go, it’s not horrible. It’s simply obvious that this isn’t what really happened. And even if it was… well, then that’s a load horseshit, isn’t it? I’m glad I saw it, and I’d be open to seeing it again, but the story is a little too fabricated for me to trust.

My honest rating for SULLY: a strong 3/5

ssiun1a

Upcoming reviews:

  • NO MANCHES FRIDA
    • trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG68gwg1Bs0
  • WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS
    • trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws74Ie4fMc8
  • WILD LIFE:
    • trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNCjU9VEuNc
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