Review: Sully

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PLOT: The true story of “Miracle on the Hudson” airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), whose skillful water-landing saved the lives of 155 passengers.

REVIEW: When I heard Clint Eastwood was making a movie about Captain Sully, I figured we’d get a slow, elegiac, almost Capra-esque tale of ordinary heroism. To a degree, I was right about everything – except the slow part. Little did I know, Eastwood has something special cooked up for his Sully biopic, with innovative IMAX camera lensing and a dynamic, tightly coiled pace, with the movie running a mere ninety minutes – daring in this era of bloated Oscar bait.

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Of course, Tom Hanks is ideally cast in the titular role. People are always saying Hanks is like a modern day Jimmy Stewart, and they’re right in that there are very few actors out there that seem to exude easy-going decency like he does. The quiet heroism he brings to the part is perfect, if expected. But, where Hanks really excels are in Sully’s moments of doubt.

While many think of Sully as impossibly cool-headed, the movie reveals that right after the accident Sully went through a kind of PTSD where he was shaken badly by the idea that disaster could have occurred, even though it didn’t thanks to his piloting. The opening sequence is among the most unexpected in recent Hollywood history, with Eastwood both signaling right off the bat that this isn’t the movie you think it is, and that he damn well knows how to use the IMAX format.

As Sully starts to waver, Hanks has some of the best material of his already sterling career to chew-on, especially when he has to go toe-to-toe with a team of second-guessing bureaucrats (led by Mike O'Malley, Anna Gunn and Jamey Sheridan) who seem sure that Sully’s water-landing was unnecessary. Aaron Eckhart (rocking a huge mustache) also has a strong showcase as Sully’s supportive co-pilot, who seems immediately overwhelmed by gratitude towards Sully for saving his life. Laura Linney also has a smaller, but good part as Sully’s wife, and her amazed reaction to Sully’s landing is realistic in how unpredictable it is. No one here embellishes in any hysterics.

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It’s noteworthy that SULLY is Eastwood’s best movie since MILLION DOLLAR BABY. While AMERICAN SNIPER was his biggest hit, there were odd moments (such as the obviously fake baby) that made me wonder whether Eastwood was still focused on the minutia of his work. SULLY proves that at eighty-five, he’s as vital as he’s ever been, with him showing an impressive flair for showcasing realistic CGI and achieving some major eye candy on a relatively no-frills budget. As usual for Clint, SULLY also has a low-key jazz score (not by Eastwood himself this time, but rather Jazz pianist Christian Jacob) while Tom Stern’s cinematography is maybe his best ever (SULLY may well get nominated in this regard).

Again, what makes the movie really cook is the ultra-efficient running time. This is really the best edited movie of the year, a major achievement for Clint and editor Blu Murray. If SULLY had been twenty-minutes longer, it might have seemed bloated or flat. But, at ninety minutes Eastwood really leaves you wanting more, and that aspect – paired with the visuals and Hanks’s towering performance – make this an absolute must see.

Source: JoBlo.com



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