September 22, 2016
SULLY – Rating: Four out of Five Stars

SULLY – Rating: Four out of Five Stars

Staff Reporter | anh038@latech.edu

There are certain things in life that get better with age: books, cheese, whiskey, so on and so forth. However, who would have thought that Tom Hanks would be on that list as well?

Okay, I’ll admit, he may not look like a young Leonardo DiCaprio, but, in Clint Eastwood’s latest masterpiece, “Sully,” Hanks is a total heartthrob.

The movie is based off the true story of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, and how on that cold afternoon on January 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger had no choice but to land his plane full of passengers in the Hudson River.

In Eastwood’s rendition of this story, he takes an extraordinary occurrence and throws out all of the drama and fluff. He gives it what some might call a human aspect.  As in most of his movies, Eastwood once again shows a strong, competent and brave male figure overcoming the odds.

That man was Sully.

Tom Hanks portrayed a rather quiet and disturbed Sullenberger. He emotionally removed himself from reality, but, in doing so, he brings out the multi-layered human qualities in man.

The film portrayed a pilot, who has more than 42 years of flying experience, test his own limits as well as those of his aircraft. He attempts to convince himself that he is not a hero, instead simply a man who was doing the job he was hired to do – yet he does the impossible. So, in the eyes of National Transportation Safety Board and Sully himself, is Sully a hero or a fraud?

This was the question on each character’s mind as the minutes passed. Everything they said and everything they did was haunted by the echoing voice in the back of their minds: could Sully have made it to the airport? Is he hiding something? Or, are we just looking for someone to blame?

Outside of the inner struggle the characters faced, most of the film’s conflict occurs in the aftermath of the incident when both Capt. Sullenberger and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, are brought in front of the NTSB. Anticipation builds as the NTSB investigators, who seem to take on the role of the antagonists, bombard the two men with computer simulations and collected data in attempts to prove they could have made it to a nearby airport for a safe landing. Though this part of the story was necessary to give the film a dramatic effect, it does feel a bit overplayed.

The fact is: despite the mandatory investigation, it is hard to believe that anyone had to audacity to question whether Sully was a hero or not. He saved 155 people from a potential horrendous death, and that made him a hero. Everyone involved knew that – even the Safety Board.

Time spent outside of NTSB meetings brought us right where the magic happened: the cockpit. We watch the last 208 seconds of the flight repeatedly from here. It’s shown in real time how each person involved reacted: the pilots, the passengers, the air traffic controls, the scuba team. Each were human, and acted as so: they hesitated, they doubted, they were afraid for their lives, they were hopeless, they were real. The drama of the crash may have been downplayed, but the intensity was felt through every second.

In the end, “Sully” wasn’t a movie that left you with tears in your eyes, or one that kept you on the edge of your seat. It hardly can be considered an action movie or a thriller and probably is not the movie you’d watch on  a dreary Monday morning. However, if you’re looking for a story that puts humanity in the forefront, look no further.


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