After the recent Captain Phillips, two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is back again with another biographical hero’s tale – and does another stellar job in this nerve-jangling drama.
He stars as US Airways pilot Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger as this tells the true story of his sensational text book plane ditching in New York’s Hudson River in 2009 – on a flight from LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte – which saved all 155 passengers and crew on board after a devastating ‘bird strike’ blew out both engines.
But what a lot of us don’t know – as the press and public hailed him a hero – is that the incident left Sully with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (in which he repeatedly imagines the plane crashing into Big Apple skyscrapers). This is further exasperated when the National Transportation Safety Board considers having the accident deemed pilot error.
This is due to preliminary data suggesting the port engine was running at ‘idle power’ which meant Sully could have potentially safely landed the Airbus 320 at LaGuardia or New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, if he’d reacted immediately in the 208 seconds he had to make his potentially life or death decision – and now his entire livelihood could be threatened with him and wife Lorraine (Oscar nominee Laura Linney) struggling to pay the bills.
With First Officer Jeffrey Skiles (The Dark Knight’s Aaron Eckhart) by his side, corporate transport big wigs ruthlessly put Sully through the ringer – which leads to a movie-defining scene where a flight simulation proves whether the now legendary pilot made the right choice.
Despite the film venturing intermittently into HBO TV movie territory, Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby) generally gets the intensity of the subject matter right, even though it does suffer from some choppy editing at times.
This scuppers Sully from being the Oscar-worthy picture it’s trying so hard to be, but all the main protagonists – Hanks, Eckhart, Eastwood – put in workmanlike performances to guide it to a safe landing.
And with the aforementioned court room simulation scene being worth the admission price alone – this proves to be a notably stirring tribute to an everyday hero.
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Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Holt Mccallany, Mike O’malley, Autumn Reeser, Ann Cusack, Sam Huntington, Jamey Sheridan & Michael Rapaport
Running Time: 1 Hr 36 Mins
Director: Clint Eastwood
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