Fall movie season kicks off with the extraordinary recounting of the true event known as the Miracle on the Hudson. Sully recounts the water landing through flashbacks and memories of Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger (Tom Hanks). Clint Eastwood directs this surprisingly entertaining and emotionally movie film that will be tough competition as we transfer into Oscar territory. Hanks is brilliant as the calm, yet self-doubting pilot, and gives Sully a charisma that this American hero deserves, especially in such troubling times.
The visuals of the plan soaring over New York City with two engines smoking. Eastwood puts audiences on the plane or as pedestrian onlookers as the plane declines reminding everyone of the tragic events that happened nearly 8 years before. The timing of the release seems planned to pull at the heartstrings of American audiences and help us realize the disaster that was avoided because of the quick thinking of the captain and the emergency crews in New York.
I was unsure of how this movie would fill two hours and though it is a little shorter than usual awards bait, every scene is important and at no point was I bored and found myself blinking away tears or on the edge of my seat for plenty of scenes throughout. The hearings pit computers versus man and Sullenberger is unyielding in his certainty that he made the right decision, at least in public though he shows doubts in his conversations with his wife, Lorraine Sullenberger (Laura Linney).
There is plenty of great supporting crew to assist Tom Hanks's masterclass performance including Aaron Eckhart as Sully's co-pilot Jeff Skiles who adds humor to this serious film. Anna Gunn does have much to say but I have no doubt she is an extraordinary actress just from her brief emotional parts as the investigator Elizabeth Davis who at first questions Sully's decisions but realize her mistakes in the midst of public hearings. The scene where Sully gives a speech and watches the simulators what exceptionally intense. There were plenty of other recognizable faces to fill out the cast.
The early release conjures up 9/11 but risks Sully being forgotten in a packed fall season of films ahead. I think this movie will stick with me as I was enthralled with this story and the fact that it is true helps a lot. Sully is a such a great character and the combination of Hanks's acting and Eastwood's directing brings out fireworks and hits the core of what makes great cinema. I would highly recommend seeing this movie on the biggest screen possible and learning about the history of this miraculous event.