Take Flight to Realism and Fantastic Acting.

sully

 

It’s a new weekend and that means a new wave of movies to flood the local theaters. Robbie K here starting the round with the latest drama based on real life events that centers on an American Hero named Captain Sullenberger. Yes, I’m talking about Sully, the film that once again delves into whether or not the pilot who landed on the husband is indeed a hero or a delusional zero.  So fasten your seatbelts, make sure your trays are in the upright position, and cell phones off as we take flight into my review.

 

LIKES:

  • The Realism
  • The insight into Sully’s mind
  • Tom Hanks acting

 

When you look into a movie based on true events you hope there is more truth than Hollywood fiction.  Fortunately, this is one movie that puts reality before fantasy. Sully’s 96 minute run time is a recreation of the treacherous nightmare that plagued the skies in 2009.  Audience members will be wowed as they are dropped into the cockpit of the US airline flight as it soars into the Hudson.  The combination of camerawork and modern computer technology will immerse you into the full experience, perhaps fooling you into thinking you are a passenger on the plane.  In addition, the team manages to give you multiple perspectives of the flight, not only advancing the realism, but also adding more pieces to the proverbial puzzle. Yet, the other component that brings the realism is the airplane jargon that fills a majority of the dialogue. According to the retired pilot sitting next to me, Sully’s writers were very accurate in the technology and maneuvers used to land the plane.  Will most care about this component? Probably not, but this reviewer appreciated the extra effort to make this movie real.

What helps provide more answers to the mystery though is getting a visualization of Sully’s internal thoughts. Much like a book, our team was able to illustrate the dark fears that plagued our captain as he waits for the investigation to finish.  These memories are well placed into the story, helping to develop Sully while also helping advance the plot in a timely manner.  Those who have read the tale and hoping the movie will mirror it are certain to enjoy this presentation, and those who choose a less literature based approach will find this method entertaining and engaging.

But of course the headliner of the movie is by far the legendary Tom Hanks playing Captain Sully.  No surprise that Hanks is capable of bringing this role to life. Hanks certainly commits to his role and manages to mirror the reported personality of the Sully. His lines are delivered with grade A accuracy, and yours truly gives the actor props for handling the lead role with such a powerful performance that will most likely net him an Oscar. While most of the other cast certainly plays a hand in recreating this story, Hanks is by far bearing the brunt of the load and handles that responsibility quite well.

DISLIKES:

  • The Drama Flare Added
  • Some perspectives not needed

As I stated, seldom is a movie safe from getting the dramatic touch added to the tale. Sully is no exception as some components take on that Hollywood magic to spice things up and make them more “entertaining.” Some of this editing is in the nature of the crash itself, the dragged out drop to the river, support personnel going into near break downs to add a touch of sympathy, and even the rather stretched portrayal of Sully’s wife.  Yet all those moments are nothing compared to the direction they took the lead investigator Charles Porter. Instead of playing an agent just looking into the entire scenario, Porter’s character was like the lead marauder in a witch hunt with a single-minded goal to bring Sully down. This could have been fine if this was the true character, or even if they mystery was deeper. Unfortunately, neither of these cases seem true, and Porter’s stubborn as a mule attitude inspired nothing more than anger and eye rolling for me.

The second dislike comes in the form of editing and the director’s decisions to split the incident into so many perspectives.  While I appreciate the integrated approach to fully envelop you into the moment, there were some components that really weren’t necessary.  One major moment was from the civilian perspective watching the plane come to land, or the random passenger trying to swim the cold waters due to their panic.  I appreciate the realism in all manners of this flight, but these moments added little to me other than trying to expand the movie out to a longer run time.  A minor error sure, but the editing could have been tapered down a bit to remove some of these pointless moments.

 

The VERDICT

When it comes to Sully, this reviewer has to give props to this movie. A realistic portrayal of the hero with fantastic acting and attention to detail are sure to attract the nonfiction lovers to the theaters for this one.  Sure it could have found a home on Netflix or PBS as a 1 hour special, but I have to admit that this movie was one of the better productions I’ve seen in a while. So is it worth a trip to the theater?  I would say yes, especially to pay tribute to Hanks’ wonderful performance.  The recommended audience is anyone in love with nonfiction/true stories, Tom Hanks fans, or those looking for another tale of a trip gone wrong (with Hanks again being the captain. Guess I won’t be traveling with him anytime soon.)

 

My scores are:

Biography/Drama: 9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

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