Nobody wants to be a hero. When extraordinary things occur in life, often times people react in a way that they don’t want to draw attention to themselves. In Clint Eastwood’s Sully all the attention is towards Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) for an act of extreme heroism by saving the lives of every passenger aboard US Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009. After multiple birds struck the engines of the aircraft after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, the plane descended toward New York in danger of crashing. Realizing that there wasn’t enough time, Sully decided to make a water landing in the Hudson River.
What follows are nightmares involving the plane crashing, sleepless nights, and nighttime runs for Sully. We can see that he is broken up by the events of what happened. He sees this “Miracle on the Hudson” as anything other than that; it was something that forever changed his life and everyone around him. He is not a hero, he’s just a man who did his job; and he did it well. As for the public, he is the hero on the Hudson. The sequence of events involving the bird strike and the plane descending into the Hudson River are truly gripping moments. My heart was racing the entire time, reminding me of Flight (2012).
Aaron Eckhart is Jeff Skiles, Sully’s co-pilot. He defends his captain and made his stance clear to the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) that everything they did was the only thing they could have done. The NTSB is not convinced as they trust their engineers and computer simulations which tell a different story of what really happened. “I felt it go, I was there, they were not,” says Sully who knew that what he did was the best option that was available.
While Sully’s wife Laurie (Laura Linney) talks to her husband over the phone, she can’t help but worry about him with the investigation, the media, and all the attention. Tom Hanks shines as Sully, as a man who wants to continue flying and be left alone. Eckhart is great telling funny jokes and insisting that everything went right. The flight sequences along with flashbacks of Sully’s early years are beautifully filmed and at times terrifying. Clint Eastwood is solid behind the camera, retelling a story that shocked the world and will be remembered for years to come.
The soundtrack is spot-on and the editing is perfect. Clint Eastwood provides a breathtaking achievement in filmmaking and storytelling, while Tom Hanks gives us an outstanding performance. This film is a testament of craftsmanship and the team behind this film has offered us a masterpiece that really demands several viewings. This reminded me so much of Flight that I cried, I smiled, and in the end, I loved this film. True stories are powerful in and of themselves and seeing everything fall into place so perfectly says a lot for this film. Everything works. Sully is a film about a hero who is just a normal guy who encountered a serious situation that resulted in a truly remarkable and unbelievable miracle. See this film, see it twice. It’s one film that will stay with you and just may bring you to tears. Thank you Sully.