Clint Eastwood is back with Sully, the real story of a pilot that landed a plane full of passengers on the Hudson River in 2009. These events were questioned by the airline and its insurance company, since they considered Sully could have managed to get to a nearby airport, therefore making the pilot unsure about his final decision. These events took place less than eight years ago so we all remember them… Does this movie add any insight, and more importantly, does it offer a good picture of that miraculous feat? Let’s find out.
Tom Hanks plays Sully, the pilot we’ve just talked about, and needless to say, he does a phenomenal job. We’ve had the pleasure to see him in movies for over 25 years and he still nails every role he’s given. His performance in Sully is deep, full of tiny subtleties to make the character very relatable and interesting. He is joined by Aaron Eckhart (and his vigorous moustache), who portrays the first officer of Flight 1549. Eckhart performance, while not as shiny as Hanks’, is very correct too.
Eastwood’s films have been quite a roller-coaster in regards of quality. His direction in movies such as Gran Torino has been great, but his filmography is packed with mediocre titles as well, from Hereafter to Invictus. Unfortunately, Sully falls into the latter category, since its clumsy storytelling falls flat from the very first scene to the very last. The story Eastwood tells clearly isn’t enough to fill a 90 minute long film while keeping a proper pace. Trying to overcome this problem, the events are told in a non-chronological fashion. However, since many poor decisions were made when organising the structure of the movie, the overall feeling is that the film never takes off (pun intended).
Some situations are shown more than once without adding any substance to them the second (or even third) time around. Many unnecessary flashbacks take us away from the story-line even if they provide no insight and are a clear example of “style over substance”. Dream sequences are used to put some action splashes every now and then even if they don’t make much sense in the story-line. There are several problems that are given a great importance on screen, only to be solved in a moment’s notice and prove themselves useless, making the audience wonder why so much attention was drawn into them. Simply put, it’s just a mess.
A more chronological organisation and a more focused approach would enhance this film greatly. In addition, at times it is very noticeable that the movie doesn’t add much insight to the life of the protagonist. Being able to take a look into the pilot’s life would make the character more compelling and relatable, and it would provide an effective way of removing filler from the run-time.
The events themselves are pretty interesting, and seeing them unfold on the big screen is a nice experience. Everything is shown covered with beautiful aesthetics, from a carefully crafted photography to some good looking special effects (even if in a couple of shots CGI is more than evident). There are no big flaws when it comes to technical features of the film, but it is true that nothing actually stands out.
Sully is one of those movies in which brilliant actors aren’t able to overcome the many issues it has. In this case, it’s Hanks who, despite his effort, can’t manage to keep the film in the air (pun intended). 5/10