Sully (2016)

A delay is better than a disaster.

Sully is directed by Clint Eastwood and it stars Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Aaron Eckhart as First Officer Jeffery Skiles. On January 15, 2009, veteran US Airways pilots Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffery Skiles board US Airways Flight 1549 departing from LaGuardia Airport and take off. Barely three minutes into the flight, disaster strikes, the Airbus A320 hits a flock of Canada Geese, which cripples both engines of the A320. Without engine power and no airport within range, Sully is forced to land his ill-fated airliner in the frigid waters of the Hudson River. With 155 passengers and crew on board, Sully, against immeasurable odds, successfully ditches the aircraft, sparing the lives of the crew and passengers and he is dubbed a hero by the press for his actions. But soon afterwards, Sully’s life is invaded by reporters and investigators who force Sully to put his job, family and reputation on the line.

The real challenge here is how can Clint Eastwood make a three minute scene into a full length film. Well, he failed his mission. Let’s start off with the positives this film has because there isn’t that much in the first place. Tom Hanks is fantastic as always. He  played a great Sully and Aaron Eckhart was a great Skyles. The tone was fairly consistent throughout, I found the simulation scenes near the end hilarious and was stifling laughter despite them being important/crucial to the plot. The CGI was great and felt realistic. The scene where Sully is dreaming that he crashed the airplane into a building in New York gave me goosebumps and a feeling of anxiety. The scene where everyone is screaming out “brace brace brace” and you see the man text ” I love you dearly” got to me as well. Something that surprised me though was how effective the sequence of the actual landing was despite knowing exactly how it would turn out, I found that to be one of the most interesting part of the film. Everything else, though not so much.

It starts off as an interesting character study on how a traumatic situation affects somebody and the aftermath of it, and then turns into multiple flashbacks of the plane crash. At first it was very visceral and well directed, but when we kept seeing it over and over it again, it felt less miraculous. I felt the subplot of Sully and his wife’s conflict was totally unnecessary. The flashbacks threw me off and it feels so random and it feels like they put them in the film to stretch it out, making the plot extremely thin. By all means, it isn’t a terrible film. But it is bland and it tries to fill out an hour and a half. There’s probably a better film that examines fame and the media and how we react to “heroism” but this film instead skims the edge of those themes.

Overall ‘Sully’ is a okay film. The acting is stellar but the direction is poor. You receive a pretty good insight into a man who is dealing with the fame and consequences of a decision he truly felt was the right call. Ultimately what this comes down to is, the meat and potatoes of this story is the three and a half minute dilemma that is stretched into a 96 minute film. There just isn’t much to work with in terms of a story. The film is missing the conflict that makes the story interesting. While the cinematography and effects that went into the landing are great and well appreciated, it’s everything else that makes this film feel like an incomplete project. ‘Sully’ is enjoyable but forgettable and stuffed with filler to pad a weak plot. SuperSam Rating: 6/10.

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