Sully Movie Review

Genre: Drama
Year: 2016
Runtime: 96 minutes
Main Cast: Tom Hanks
Aaron Eckhart
Laura Linney
Main Production Company: Village Roadshow Pictures
Written by: Todd Komarnicki
Directed by: Clint Eastwood


Written by Nelson Cumming

Sully is a movie based on the real-life event of an American Airlines incident where the pilot made an emergency landing in the Hudson River. It is a 206-second incident that was stretched out into 96 minutes which is greatly executed.

Tom Hanks plays the role of pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the person who decided to land an American Airlines plane on the Hudson River. None of the 155 passengers on board died, however, there is speculation that Sully and co-pilot Joe Skies (Aaron Eckhart) could have landed the plane safely at another airport. Both Sully and Skies have to prove they did the best possible server under the most unique and dire circumstance.

Hanks and Eckhart are awesome together

I was invested in both these actors roles. Eckhart and Hanks have good chemistry as they play off each other. After London Has Fallen, it is a sigh of relief that Eckhart plays a character that is treated as a significant player in the movie. Both actors didn’t overdo their roles, they were both calm and collected. Hanks was more stoic than Eckhart but Eckhart manages to be lighthearted at the right time and place. It felt that it was crucial to have both these guys together. I believe the movie wouldn’t have been nearly as effective if Hanks was on his own.

The Flashbacks were good, with reservations

Without getting into too much detail, there are multiple flashback sequences of the airplane landing of the Hudson River. I believe that was a smart move as each flashback added a new layer to the story and it is mesmerizing. The good and bad part of the flashbacks is there was a stoic calmness to the way it was handled. It was subtly tense. The great thing about that is it’s a different direction than if everyone was screaming, running around with their heads cut off (which is tiresome and repetitive). The sad that about it is that it undercuts it’s own narrative stakes. Speaking of stakes…

The Stakes. Didn’t work completely, but they sincerely try.

There is sincerity with the narrative stakes but I just didn’t fully buy them. That’s because the way in which Sully professionally handles the plane crash in the series of flashbacks made me believe that the outcome for the main characters was never in doubt. To be fair, “Sully” had the disadvantage of a story with no villain and story that people already know. I personally didn’t know about the real life story, but I knew the outcome was a given with 30 minutes to go.

Therefore I wasn’t biting my nails thinking and asking myself questions like “Does Sully win? Does Sully lose? Will he be seen as a respected hero? Will he be shunned by the media?” They do try to incorporate stakes several times without trying too hard. They did that well, but I couldn’t buy it. It didn’t harm the movie’s quality but it ultimately prevented it from being a classic movie people will talk about once the hype for “Sully” dies down.

“Sully” is worth watching for anyone as it is entertaining throughout, from the acting chemistry between Eckhart and Hanks to the multiple depictions of the plane landing in the river and the short running time of 96 minutes makes it feel short and sweet. The event may have been 206 seconds but “Sully” Stretches it out for 96 solid minutes. It would have been more interesting if “Sully” was released in June. Only the people who saw the movie will get that joke. ****