Sully, rated PG-13
This film is directed by 86 year-old two-time Academy Award winning Director (for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby), Clint Eastwood. The screenplay is written by Todd Komarnicki based on the book Highest Duty by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.
We are familiar with Sully’s story. On Thursday, January 15th, 2009, he safely landed his damaged plane, U.S. Airways Flight 1549 bound for Charlotte onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 souls aboard. This was referred to as the “Miracle on the Hudson”. Sully’s plane lost engine power about three minutes after takeoff when it hit a flock of Canadian Geese at an altitude of approximately 2800 feet and speed of 200 MPH. Sully and co-pilot Jeff Skiles had a very short period of time to decide what to do.
But there is more to the story. While he was overwhelmingly looked at as a hero who saved the lives of all aboard, afterwards (the film portrays it as immediately afterwards, when in reality it took place much later), there was an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that threatened to destroy Sully’s reputation and career.
Two-time Oscar winner (for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump), Tom Hanks portrays Sully. First Officer Jeff Skiles is portrayed by Aaron Eckhart. Both do an excellent job in their roles. Sully is portrayed as a family man. Laura Linney does a good job of portraying Sully’s wife Lorraine, and we hear several phone calls between the two.
The NTSB investigation team comes across as having an agenda to blame Sully for the emergency landing. They are portrayed as wanting to show that he made a mistake and could have in fact turned the plane around and landed it safely on one of the many runways available to him in/near New York City. The film portrays the whole story of the investigation and its significant impact on Sully. It also portrays Sully dealing with his newfound fame and the post-trauma stress that the crash had on him and his crew. On this anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, there are scenes that will remind viewers of the horrific attacks in New York City.
The film makes effective use of flashbacks, as we see the crash landing, which is realistically portrayed from multiple perspectives. We also see a few other scenes of Sully flying planes early in his flying career.
We saw the film on an IMAX screen, which made the plane’s crash and rescue scene truly amazing. Eastwood does an excellent job putting the viewer in the cockpit with Sully and Skiles.
The film is rated PG-13 for some brief adult language and the tense crash landing. Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with this film about an American hero directed by one of our top directors and starring one of our top actors.