Movie Review: ‘Sully’ biopic avoids making a crash landing


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Veronice Morley, Reporter

Clint Eastwood’s latest film “Sully” is a biographical and artistic depiction of Capt. Chesley Sullenberger who was burdened with the task of landing US Airway’s Flight 1549 on January 15th, 2009. Not only does the film detail the events of that day and the adversarial investigation that proceeds, but Eastwood creates as clean cut and detailed a movie as ever making this the shortest film he has ever directed. The lack in run time, however, does not stop this movie from maintaining the same level of intensity as any other Clint Eastwood film.

The beginning of the film shows Capt. Sullenberger, or Sully (Tom Hanks), and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles (a mustached Aaron Eckhart), land the large plane carrying 155 people in the Hudson River on a brisk New York winter day. The story largely involves the events that take place in the aftermath of the landing, mainly the investigation (or witch-hunt) by the National Transportation Safety Board. The table of judges, led by Mike O’Malley, run countless simulations and asks insinuative questions in order to find some fault in the heroics of Sully that day.

Eastwood and Hanks make a formidable team in portraying Sully not only as a true American hero, but a classic hero that Eastwood himself might have played: a man faced not only with a life or death scenario, but afterwards put on trial. Sully depicts the old-fashioned American man: sturdy, honest, noble and most of all brave. Eastwood once again produces a hero that you just can’t help but root for.

Sully’s heroic character could only be matched with a silver-haired grandfatherly Tom Hanks. It only makes sense that Eastwood would cast one of America’s classic Hollywood actors to play a classic American hero. Hanks provides the perfect balance of honesty and humility that allows this movie to portray Sully not only as a hero, but as a person.

Enhancing a major theme, the movie develops multiple human aspects among Sully himself, his co-pilot and a few of the passengers enhancing this movie past simply being a telling of events. The stories of passengers working together and Skiles never failing to stand by his captain add to the heartfelt nobility of Sully. This added strength allows writers to include greater insight to the stress of the investigation and the toll the spotlight took on Sully himself, making him an imperfect hero and reminding us once again that he too, was just a man.

The movie itself is to the point. It is greatly detailed with just enough intensity to keep you absorbed in the film. There is no fluff and no unnecessary dialogue or action. If you have a fear of flights however, consider yourself warned.

(Four Stars)