Clint Eastwood directs and Tom Hanks stars in this new drama based on the true story of "the miracle on the Hudson". Sully is Captain Sullenberger, the pilot of the US Airways plane that had an emergency landing on the Hudson River in January of 2009. The film recreates that faithful day but probes deeper behind the the amazing landing that saved all 155 people aboard.
Mr. Eastwood loves a hero and Captain "Sully" certainly qualifies as such but the film takes us behind the scenes to the NTSB probe and hearings regarding the incident. The National Transportation and Safety Board comes across as the villain of the story trying to place blame on Sully for choosing to land in the river rather than attempt to return to LaGuardia Airport or nearby Teterboro Airport. This makes for greater dramatic impact creating an even stronger affection for the stalwart pilot.
The films rest squarely on the capable shoulders of Mr. Hanks and he is brilliant. He fully immerses himself in the role and should easily garner award nominations. Laura Linney and Aaron Eckhart co-star and while Mr. Eckhart is also excellent as Sully's real life co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, Ms. Linney is wasted as the worried wife at home. Anna Gunn, Mike O'Malley, and Jamey Sheridan also co-star as the members of the NTSB investigating the incident. Screenwriter Todd Komarnicki and Mr. Eastwood clearly portray them as the villains in a story that in reality, has no villains.
The story jumps around in time which successfully fattens the film. The recreated landing is a marvel of CGI and live action that is emotional to watch. The entire film is actually quite stirring and emotional (direction, where Mr. Eastwood excels), especially for native New Yorkers who remember that day clearly, myself being one of them. Sully's sleepless nights haunt him with scenes that present a very different end to the flight, which stir old emotions as well.
This is a terrific blend of fact and fiction to create a very entertaining film that ultimately celebrates, not only Captain Sullenberg and his crew but also the brave New Yorkers from the many different agencies that assisted in the rescue and got everyone safely back on dry land.