Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney
On January 15th 2009 US Airways Flight 1549 was forced to perform an emergency water landing in the Hudson River. By some miracle, all 155 passengers and crew onboard survived. But when Captain Chesley Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles are pulled up by the NTSB, learning that they could have made a safe landing back at Laguardia, we are taken on a tale of self-doubt as Sully wonders whether he made the wrong decision.
This is a film that I really wanted to like. Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart, a true story of an incredible maneuver that saved countless lives. What could go wrong? It turns out, a lot.
Whilst this is a tale of an unbelievable feat, it falls flat on its face with the pacing. I assumed that the story would take place a number of weeks after the accident, and maybe it did, but for me it seemed like it was all over in a number of days. Maybe that was me not paying attention, but that wasn’t clear to me at all. But whilst it was told over such a short space of time, it took a long time to go anywhere. With a 96 minute run-time I imagined to come out feeling like it was over within minutes….I didn’t.
The cast are probably the only redeeming factor that this film has going for it. With a high-profile, Hollywood name like Tom Hanks on a film like this you are guaranteed footfall. He plays Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger with an authoritative calm and and charisma, a hero who doesn’t want to be a hero. Eckhart matches Hanks scene for scene, and it is possibly one of my favourite roles of his to dat (Batman aside). Laura Linney’s role as Sully’s wife seemed like such an obsolete character to me. Appearing in only a few minutes of the whole film overall, she fraughtfully tried to get as much information out of him over a few very brief phone calls. To little avail.
This film had certain moments where I just couldn’t help but laugh, mainly at the sheer awkwardness. The ‘fangirling’ members of the public that Sully encounters after the events of the crash, including a bartender who named a drink after him ‘The Sully: Grey Goose with a splash of water’, are laughable. I put palm to face too many times throughout the duration of this film.
The way I described this film when I went home last night, and will continue to describe it, is that this was ‘the longest 90 minute film of my life’. I have to admit that I spent quite a bit of time ‘clock-watching’, which is not the sign of a major award contender that this film was predicted to be.