While at times it attempts to over punish the hero in exchange for greater triumphs, Sully is a wonderful look at how historical films can be made in the digital age. Sully captures the story of a man forced to defend a heroic action and bolstered by an amazing performance by its main cast.
Sully tells the story of pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) who successfully landed US Airways Flight 1549 0n the Hudson river after multiple bird strikes destroyed both engines. The event took place on January 15, 2009, and came to be known as the Miracle on the Hudson as all 155 passengers and crew survived. As far as the public knew, this was a massively successful maneuver that saved lives. But the plane itself was unsalvageable after the incident which triggered an extensive investigation by the US Airways and their insurance companies. Captain Sullenberger was convinced that the plane was too low to return to any airport safely while computer simulations and flight tests show that it could have been done. The movie showed an interesting side to how professionals react in a crisis showing that the two pilots are not screaming or delivering dramatic dialogue, they are communicating with air traffic control, following checklists, and testing solutions in an attempt to do everything possible to maintain safety.
It may not have been their best performances of all time but the delivery of this cast was superb. Tom Hanks portrays a real person who has nightmares about the incident, questions himself in a real way, and feels fear and anxiety like a normal person should. Aaron Eckhart, who portrays First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, plays the “average joe” pilot without any of the tropes you would expect. Mike O’Malley, who I’m always excited to see in the mainstream, played the lead investigator for the airline and FAA and perfectly encapsulated a man who understood that what Sully did was amazing but still has a job to do and is determined to be right. Every cast member made me forget that I was watching actors and pulled me right into the characters.
We’ve seen a string of pretty sub par films recently so I’m excited when I can see something that reminds me why I love going to the movies. This movie is a perfect reminder that not every compelling story about heroes has to include capes. It also does well in giving a different perspective on an event that was captured and shared in this new digital age. Everyone knows what happened both inside and out of the plane because it was seven years ago and entirely captured on cell phone video. This was a wholly entertaining and interesting movie and I recommend you definitely put this one on your list this weekend.