Movie Review: Sully

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Director Clint Eastwood’s (American Sniper, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby) latest movie Sully is, ironically, not centered around a random guy with the last name Sullivan or some obscure neighborhood bar located in the outskirts of Boston.

It centers around the real-life event surrounding USA Airways Flight 1549 piloted by Chelsey Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), which left New York’s LaGuardia Airport en route to Charlotte, NC on the morning of January 15, 2009 and 208 seconds later performed an emergency and unprecedented landing (more like an aviation”bellyflop”) into the Hudson River.

(Not really) a Spoiler Alert: all 155 passengers on board miraculously survived.

Very well known for his thrifty movie-making approaches I was half-expecting Eastwood to show a dramatization of the entire crash sequence – which he did, twice, in very much a sphincter clenching way – and after all was said and done, pan the camera towards Hanks (Sully), have him say something like “yeah, that’s right, I landed that shit,” and then fad to black, roll credits.

Basically the ultimate mic drop.

 

And this is why I have never won an Academy Award or have never been paid money to make a movie.1

There are no real surprises to the events themselves, and I can understand why some may think to themselves “why did this movie need to be made in the first place? We all know what happens.” I can respect that.

Could the argument be made that it’s a predictable plot? Sure. This is standard procedure with any movie made about an historical event. I think it’s a stupid argument to make. We all know the Titanic sinks and yet that didn’t stop James Cameron from 1) making a metric shit-ton of money and 2) making me ball my eyes out.

So, yeah, the plot is predictable, but it doesn’t make what happened any less fascinating.  However, the meat and potatoes of the plot isn’t so much about the event itself…but rather how it affects “Sully” and the rest of the people involved.

Not surprisingly, after an event like that, there’s going to be a degree of “WTF just happened?” and wonderment about whether or not the right call was made?

Could he have made it back to LaGuardia?

Did he have to land the plane in the river?

Could the higher-ups involved with reviewing the whole scenario be any more dickish than they were?

The movie, while depicting a miraculous event, had more to do with the aftermath and how Sully dealt with the inquisition on his actions, and also, too, his transition from a guy “doing his job” to instant celebrity and hero and guy I want to pilot every flight I’m on from here on out.

In a time where we’re surrounded by a social and political environment fueled by hate, bigotry, ignorance, and a lot of dark and sinister adjectives…it was refreshing to head to the theater for 90 minutes and be reminded that human beings can be pretty darn calm, cool, and collected. It was nice to see and be reminded that something good can happen.

Final Grade: B+

 

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  1. For the record: I would have included ninjas or something, or somehow made it so the plane really crashed due to zombies attacking. You know, for the added cinematography. Or, WAIT, oh my god….this would have been amazing. I would have had Harrison Ford make a cameo at the point where all the passengers were exiting. He’d burst through a door and yell, “Get off my plane!Air Force One style. BOOM