I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
Last time I reviewed a Clint Eastwood directed flick it ended up 10th place in my round up of the worst movies of 2015. Did he do any better here with yet another true story film?
Sully: Miracle on the Hudson tells the incredible true story of Captain Sullenburger who piloted a near doomed airliner onto the Hudson River, saving the lives of all the passengers on-board.
This story would best be told as a short film. First Act, show us the start of the day. Sully (Sullenburger, played by everybody’s favourite every-man Tom Hanks) comes in the airport as do the passengers. They get on the plane. Second Act, the plane’s engines are hit by birds and the plane stops. Sully works the situation out. Third Act, the landing. Passengers are rescued. The end.
We have that in this 90 minute feature, but thanks to the nature of the story, we relive it in bits and pieces throughout the run-time again and again. This is inter-cut with the investigation into the incident by some suits and Sully having night and daymares about what might have happened.
I genuinely think that Clint Eastwood watched the Late Night talk shows on which Sully and Chris Kyle (the inspiration for American Sniper) and thought “Those stories are interesting, let’s make them into movies” without fully comprehending that that’s not all you need.
This movie’s intentions are sweet, but the execution is sour.
I see the logic in every decision when it came to telling this tale. It’s not like SUicide Squad where there was a vapid space where a filmmaker should have been. I can see where they came from, having the story be about the aftermath rather than the event itself. Even the cutting back to the incident works in theory, Sully is reliving the experience in his mind.
The problem is that the conflict in “did he do the right thing in ditching the plane in the river” feels extremely void of interest. Sully never struggles with anything other than the “evil” investigators who have “evil” computers on their side. Eastwood vs The Modern World again would be find if they actually had means of evil.
This film is so like American Sniper. Both centre on a modern American Hero who is “misunderstood” (by pretty much nobody according to the films), both have fictitious and exaggerated internal conflicts to try to make the tension actually BE and both have stay-at-home wife characters that fulfil their roles as you’d expect.
I felt no tension in this entire film. None at all. Not because I knew the outcome, but because I was told it again and again by the film and was forced to feel sorry for a man who was praised for the actions we see.
The technicals are good here. The crash itself is well executed, the special effects and direction are fine. The music, by Eastwood himself is also good, though it does come in at odd moments.
The moments where they talk technical plane speak or act like human beings are my favourite points. Those feel real. The final line is quite nice too.
A movie based on true events is supposed to make you interested in the events and admire true heroic deeds. This film unfortunately made me less interested.
Recommended Scenario: If you’re really interested in the Hudson Landing as I know many are.