Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Everyman Hero

The movie Sully is one that I am glad I saw. It is simply told, well written, and well acted. There are a few things that are a bit trite in the telling, but overall, it is a good and moving story of an unlikely hero whose simple and unassuming nature is the measure of the man.

For those of you who don't know the story, Flight 1549 of US Airways was struck by a flock of birds a few moments after take-off which disabled both engines on the plane on January 15, 2009. Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger made the decision that the plane could not make it to the two nearby airports and decided to water land the plane on the only smooth surface he could find in New York City, the Hudson River. It all happened in 108 seconds. More remarkable was that all 155 souls on the plane survived the landing. Sully walked up and down the plane to make sure no one was left behind. It was also remarkable in that not only did everyone survive in frigid winter weather but also people just generally do not survive water landings. The entire rescue was just 24 minutes long.

Sully is more than this story. It is the story of what happened after the landing.  It was not a crash, as Sullenberger pointed out but a water landing.  The movie tells us of the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, the press that surrounded Sullenberger, and the learning to deal with the hero worship in the media. If there is a singular problem with the movie, it is the decision to paint the NTSB as the villains in the movie. It is something about which NTSB investigators are less than pleased. Painting government investigators as bad guys is a long-running and trite Hollywood trope.

Still, there is yet another stellar performance by Tom Hanks as Sully Sullenberger.  Hanks has become a master at playing the unlikely, everyman hero. He inhabits the character in ways few actors can.  I believe in Hanks as Sullenberger.  I suppose that one of the reasons he has so few Oscars is simple. He is so good at playing these characters, it seems effortless.  To paraphrase Spencer Tracy, "Never let the audience catch you acting," is exactly Hanks' ability as an actor. His innate ability to look into and past a camera and let the audience see every thought constantly astonishes me.

The rest of the cast consist of primarily Aaron Eckhart as First Office Jeff Skiles also important to the safe landing and Laura Linney as Sully's wife Lorraine. Their performances as also solid and believable. If there are any other issues with the movie, is that Director Clint Eastwood really needs to hire someone that can write music other than the self-written jazz music that he writes for his movies. Sully 
is a solid movie that will leave you feeling good. It is worth the time. I think most folks will enjoy it. 

By the way: