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Movie Review: Tom Hanks Phenomenal in 'Sully'

by Todd A. Smith


(Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)



‘Tommy Boy’ Does it Again 



That dang Tom Hanks has done it again.

One of the most talented actors of the last few decades has delivered another phenomenal performance in one of the most phenomenal movies of 2016.

“Sully,” based on Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger’s miraculous landing of a U.S. Airways flight in the “Miracle on the Hudson,” is so fantastic that it will have moviegoers on the edge of their seats despite knowing exactly what’s going to happen.

“Sully” begins with a nightmare.  And throughout the film, aviation critics and the thought that his miracle could possibly turn into something less than ordinary puts Sully through hell.

Sullenberger (Hanks) has over 40 years of experience in the air.

From the time he was a young man in Texas, it seemed like the ground was too commonplace for someone like him who was destined to reach the clouds.

Despite all of the technology afforded 21st century pilots, Sullenberger has something that technology cannot provide, wisdom and expertise.

When a Jan. 15, 2009 flight from LaGuardia Airport in Queens, N.Y. is struck by an unusually large number of birds, the plane loses both engines.

For 30 seconds that seemed like 30 minutes, he has to see if he can return to LaGuardia, go to an airport in New Jersey or try a water landing, which never ends successfully.

To make the water landing more daunting, the water in the Hudson River is around 35 degrees with a wind chill in the air of minus 5 degrees.

So even if he pulls off this unprecedented landing, the 155 souls on the plane will only be able to survive for mere minutes in such treacherous weather conditions.

Many people already know the ending of the miracle.

Fewer might know that the miracle in so many people’s eyes turned into hell on earth for the hero.

The NTSB, concerned about large insurance payments, try to put the blame on Sully and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart).

The organization is convinced that the plane could have made it back to a couple of airports safely, despite Sully’s claims to the contrary.

The reality that the miracle could turn into a lawsuit that threatens his retirement, side business and investment properties is too much for someone who should be celebrated for eternity.

Hanks is perfect in the nuanced role of Sully.

He is strong but not boisterous about it.

He is unusually calm in the midst of a tragedy but not naïve to the danger.

His voice is monotone but definitely not boring.

And he is intelligent, but not patronizing or demeaning to his critics.

But in spite of the seriousness of “Sully,” his co-stars add just the right “splash” of comedy to bring another element to the serious drama.

Michael Rappaport stars as a New York bartender who creates a drink after the hero, which combines Grey Goose vodka with a splash of water.

And Eckhart keeps the mood light even during stressful NTSB hearings.


When NTSB representatives ask Skiles what he would have done differently about the landing, he says he would have done it in July and not during a cold New York winter.

The plane crash is so real that it feels like moviegoers are actually on the plane.

The only thing that might have made it better is if the crash had used 3-D technology.

Although 3-D technology would have been a bonus, it is not necessary with a talent like Hanks.


He might not win the Oscar for best actor for “Sully,” but he will definitely be one to beat as he usually has been throughout his illustrious career.






This article was published on Friday 09 September, 2016.
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