By: Ali Habous
Legendary director and actor Client Eastwood keeps defying all odds and coming back for more. At the age of 86, his storytelling mastery is still at full display even if he is not as enthusiastic to take on something more original or fictional. The director of American classics like Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River is back with Sully, a heroic tale that is based on real life events similar to his last effort American Sniper. This one will not rank among his best films but it’s a solid directorial outing either way.
Luckily for Eastwood, actors like Tom Hanks do still exist. Tom Hanks along with a few actors of the same caliber like Kevin Spacey and Denzel Washington are able to change the game in every movie. They can elevate a mediocre picture to something better than it deserves to be and they can turn a good movie into a great one. It is a blend of experience and star power. Tom Hanks plays Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who successfully landed a commercial airplane with 155 souls on board with no casualties on the Hudson River after the airplane was hit by a flock of birds and lost both engines. Hanks makes the main character his own and grounds him in the real world,making him believable and human. Too bad the rest of the movie seems to be supporting his character instead of establishing real characters and making them their own.
When the camera is not focused on Tom Hanks, the rest of the characters seem one dimensional and their existence is just to fill a void with no real dramatic depth or believable motivations. The lack of real character depth hurts the film because when Sully is without its main character on the screen it is simply devoid of any real drama and gives the movie a cold feeling of competence with no real emotions. It seems unlikely that Sully will be a contender for any major awards in the best film category but Tom Hanks might get a few nods and nominations for his role.
The film still offers a good cinematic experience to moviegoers especially the landing scene on the Hudson River; it is perfect for the IMAX experience. The movie looks very vivid and gorgeously photographed, and the editing is fluid enough to justify jumping between different timelines. Even if Eastwood did not pull it off completely with Sully, it is clear that he is still a very good story teller and his direction is still as capable as ever. Sully could have been a more emotionally stirring experience but at the end it settles for “good” instead of “great”. Captain Sully’s airplane lands somewhere in the middle of Eastwood’s glaring resume of many classics and a few failures.
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