Clint Eastwood’s Sully: A Review


Everyone has heard about it: the 2009 miracle on the Hudson. It was an uncanny feat of triumph, and 155 lives were saved. After an unheard of double-engine failure, a full-sized passenger plane landed on the Hudson. An American hero was born, an epitome of the will of human survival. The world was uplifted.

      With such an ecstatic preamble, Sully should’ve been bombastic. Director Clint Eastwood had the potential to create such a film, but he didn’t. Sully, in actuality, is a quiet, righteous film centered around a character of the same qualities. Captain Sullenberger, portrayed by Tom Hanks, is an everyday US Airlines pilotcalm, steady, a tad boringlooking to retire soon and see his wife (portrayed by excellent Laura Linney) and kids. And, by the end of the movie, not much changes.

      Through scenes concerning Sully’s bouts of mild PTSD, countless meetings concerning Sully’s actions and whether or not he could have made it back to an airport, and sequences of the flight itself, Sully’s deep rooted golden sense of morality is unearthed. These scenes do not flow chronologically, and it works. Rather, they progress in a sort of train-of-thought so that the audience can understand the nuances of Sully’s actions on January 15th. The film carefully builds to a mildly stirring climax in which Sully proves his naysayers wrong and solidifies the confidence the audience has been building for him throughout the film.

But this is far from a heroic action movie lionizing Captain Sullenberger. It is a mellow drama depicting the plight of one man to justify his gallant actions. “It was a good movie, not a great one. Tom Hanks, who is, like, my bae, carries the film,” says Rohan Varkey ’18. He is correct; Sully likely would not have worked if not for the outstanding subtlety with which Hanks portrays the pilot, a performance that will likely earn him an Oscar nomination. Other notable performances include his copilot (Aaron Eckhardt) and flight attendant (Donna Dent), who add some kick and some wit to the film, respectively.

Sully does not try and be anything that it is not. It is a good, straightforward movie about an ordinary man who performs inexplicably well under strenuous conditions. It is not the miracle like the event it concerns. Rather, it is the truth.