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Sully

Sully

Released 2 December 2016
Director Clint Eastwood
Starring




Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Valerie Mahaffey, Delphi Harrington, Mike O'Malley, Jamey Sheridan, Anna Gunn, Laura Linney
Writer(s) Todd Komanicki
Producer(s)

Clint Eastwood, Frank Marshall, Tim Moore, Ally Stewart
Origin United States
Running Time 96 minutes
Genre Biography, drama
Rating 12A
73

Braced for impact.

When you're cruising in a metal tube thousands of feet above the ground, you want a safe pair of hands behind the controls. Cpt. Chesley Sullenberger III, better known as “Sully”, is one such pair of hands; a calm, experienced pilot who, on a fateful morning in January 2009, successfully landed an Airbus 320 in the middle of New York's Hudson River. And all without incurring one fatality. Shaping this remarkable feat into a motion picture has been a job for two more safe pairs of hands – those of director Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks as Sully. While both acquit themselves admirably, I found it all a little too safe.

The story of that fateful flight is known the world over, so screenwriter Todd Komarnicki attempts to add to that knowledge. We are introduced to a selection of passengers, air traffic controllers and first responders as the film delves into the wider effects of that day and its aftermath. Sully and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), deal both with post-traumatic stress and the rigours of an industrial enquiry. Eastwood is attempting to keep a lot of balls in the air and some of these strands are less successful than others. The best thing about the film is the central pairing of Hanks and Eckhart. Their chemistry is the strong heart of the film and the scenes in which they fight for their lives in the air and their livelihoods on the ground are riveting.

On the other hand, there were times when the film was teetering dangerously on the edge of cheesiness. In real life, Sully felt uncomfortable being hailed as a hero – a feeling occasionally forgotten as music soars and passengers weep. Still, the quality performances and the technical achievements far outweigh the occasional moment of sentimentality. It is difficult to watch a plane hurtling towards the New York skyline and not to catch one's breath – a fact clearly noted by Eastwood as he replays the moment of impact again and again. These moments of heart-stopping drama make the film a powerful watch. See it on the biggest, loudest screen possible.

- Linda O'Brien