Saturday, September 17, 2016

Film Review: SULLY

Actor-turned-director Clint Eastwood created this surprisingly bland recounting of the 2009 airplane disaster dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson," which IMHO would have been a much better title. (Sully is the nickname of the pilot. Imagine if his name had been Goldstein.) The story of the commercial airliner with two failed engines that landed on the Hudson River in the middle of January and yet all 155 people on board survived sounds like it would be a real nail-biter. Instead it was more of a nail-filer, and if I'd brought a bottle of polish with me I might have done a full manicure.

Pilot and co-pilot answer questions from the NTSB.
Tom Hanks sleepwalks through the title role. Laura Linney plays his distraught wife, with far too much screen time considering she's only seen on the phone with her husband, saying things like "I love you" and "I can't hear you." Aaron Eckhart is excellent as the co-pilot and has the movie's one and only funny line, and trust me, it's not all that funny. The Hudson River plays itself, and it looks beautiful and much grander than you realize when you're walking around midtown Manhattan.

Be forewarned: With very little screaming or hysteria among the passengers, Sully barely registers on the Disaster Movie Richter scale. The actual plane crash, or water landing to be more accurate, is over so quickly that we are shown it repeatedly in case we missed it the first time: It's in a couple of Sully's dreams, and his thoughts as he runs through the streets of New York, and in flashbacks, so that's four times right there.

The most interesting aspect of Sully is seeing how the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) undertook an investigation and held a hearing to discover what really happened, so we get a chance to see our government in action. Well, not exactly action since it's just a bunch of dry bureaucrats sitting behind microphones, but it's enlightening all the same.

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