Film Review : Sully Miracle on the Hudson

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Never go travelling with Tom Hanks… EVER!

For once, a plane disaster where all ends well, Sully : Miracle on the Hudson is an understated drama about what went on in the pilots cabin during one of the best saves in recent memory – and the way how the investigation about whether Sully and his crew did the right thing or not panned out afterwards.

Released : 2016

Runtime : 1h 36 mins

Premise

The actual event took just a few minutes to play out from bird impact to crash landing, but this movie focuses on the effects of a stressful investigation on a man whom just did his job to the best of his ability. Did he do the right thing?

The Disasters Faced

A plane crash, a water crash landing, BIRDS, angry corporate executives, a flawed investigation team and disgusting insurance companies whom won’t want to pay out anything.

The Execution

Sully, from the start, is understated and almost dreamlike in the way it switches from inside Sully’s mind, to past, present and future thoughts. Skewing the timeline of Sully’s life is what makes this short and compact film quite compelling because we see where he picked up previous skills to cope with all the situations thrown at him that fateful day. Clint Eastwood directed the film and his lack of transitions between each time period sometimes causes a bit of confusion but aside from that, everything ties up to being referenced nicely. Throughout the entire film both Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart spend half their time acting using their eyes and face rather than the script itself and it’s this tone that elevates Sully to a more introverted disaster movie. When we see everything unfold fully, everything is told (and sold) with detail and precision with a nod to disaster movies of old, but its only a third of the film. Sully really has more in line with a courtroom drama as the investigation and its flawed methods try to damn the rescue for insurance and reputational gain. It’s subtle, but tense – and that’s how I’d describe the overall mood and feel of the film as a tagline.

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The actual crash and rescue are recreated with haunting realism

The Effects

The plane crash into the Hudson is really well done, as are the dream sequences that Sully has of it going wrong. The overtones of 9/11 are strong and powerfully shown. What’s also really well done is the whole Hudson set itself. The plane is slowly sinking and the submerged sets and the plane wing pieces are fantastic.

Why It’s Worth Watching

Sully is a feel good movie for the everyday hero. The unsung champion. He just wants to do his job and do it well. It’s also great for shining a light of thanks and appreciation for everyone else whom took part in the rescue, completed in under half an hour. This is especially true of Eckhart’s portrayal of co pilot Jeff Skiles. He lived through the same moments and was backing Sully every step of the way yet rarely gets a mention. Here, that’s acknowledged. He also compliments the introspective and anti-personality of Sully by being more of the outgoing sort, able to throw in a joke and lighten the mood and they make a great double act. It’s also the story of a successful rescue where everyone was saved. It’s important to celebrate that and document why. It also shows just how flawed the investigation panel are. How many investigations post crash have been subject to the same problems this one had? There’s a fascinating line spoken: “This is the first time I’ve done one of these with the crew alive before me” – and I think that has gravitas for their work in the future.

Drinking Game

Sully does like to stare off into the distance… or go for a run… or both. A lot.

Favourite Character

Aaron Eckhart’s portrayal of Jeff Skiles is warm and comforting. His closing line in the film says it all.

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The courtroom drama, whilst maybe taking cinematic liberties, is tense and intriging

Weirdest Moment

While there’s no real weird moment, I found the phone calls between Sully and his wife slightly jarring. She seemed to be slightly disconnected from everything and worried about her own house and well-being rather than the bigger picture and whilst that does have its own pay off, it’s so minor in the end, it gave the impression their marriage was on the rocks rather than the fact they are perfectly happy.

Random Trivia

Upon inspection of various forums, lots of people have been busy trying to find inaccuracies with the dashboards and flight sim testings. People have spotted unusual approaches to airports, missing inflatable slides and missing sirens and warning sounds. One of which is a siren saying “retard” which is French for “stop”. I can see this probably being removed because non flight people will probably get all P.C. and offended.

Conclusion

Whilst its more courtroom drama and biopic than a full-blown disaster movie, Sully  Miracle on the Hudson is ultimately a heart warming but tense movie about survival under pressure and the victory for a quiet man. It won’t be for everyone as it deals more with the mind than the crash, but its a fascinating watch if you want to get invested in it.

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