Clint Eastwood’s new thing appears to be filming stories of recent American heroism. There seems to be this new trend in Hollywood, and not just from Eastwood, to cinematize stories before they even become history. Shoot, they already made a movie about Barrack and Michelle’s first date, and the man isn’t even out of office yet.
But hey, as long as a movie’s good, I don’t really care what it’s about. So is Sully good? Sure.
Much like my feelings towards Hands of Stone, I felt weary stepping into the theaters because I did not feel like this was a movie that needed to be made. For the most part, that is the case for Sully, but fortunately for me, the film has enough enjoyable aspects.
All of what’s exceptional in this movie starts and ends with Tom Hank’s performance. His acting is not riveting by any stretch of the imagination, but his character has enough depth and complexity to be more than watchable. Sully (real name Chesley Sullenberger) as a person is so relatable to me because even though he performed an amazing feat that saved many lives, there’s an overshadowing of guilt and self-doubt that conflicts with how people are portraying him. What’s worse is that even though most consider him a hero, there are higher-ups who seem to want nothing more than to find fault with how he handled the situation. This created a feeling of unease and helplessness throughout the film.
Aside from Hanks, the only other person in this film that I enjoyed watching was Aaron Eckhardt as Sully’s copilot. However, his sole defining traits consist of his friendship and loyalty to Sully. I enjoyed this because I have a soft spot for brotherhood-type friendships between men in films, but I still realize that his character is relatively shallow.
Everyone else in the movie does alright in their role. For some reason, they decided to spend some time trying to characterize some of the passengers with their own small story segments. This felt like an exercise in the unnecessary. The reason for this is because the movie really only seems deeply interesting in expanding on how Sully felt about the situation, and everything else felt like a secondary afterthought.
This extreme focus on Sully also gave the movie a very shallow feeling; the story is not what I would call thought-provoking or even complex. This obviously does not mean that the movie was bad, but it does mean that the movie was fairly unexceptional.
Because the plane crash is the pinnacle of the entire story, they replayed the crash scene multiple times from different perspectives throughout the entire film. I understand why they did this, but this understanding does not help the movie from feeling repetitive.
There are also a few scenes that are incredibly cheesy. One of them involves a fortune from a fortune cookie, and I thought the scene would have been a whole lot better if they removed the fortune from the entire movie***; I simply could not take it seriously. However, the other cheesy scenes are few and far between.
Sully is a decent movie with a relatively interesting study on what happens to an average man who does something of great notoriety. Tom Hanks certainly carries the entire movie on his shoulders, but I wouldn’t say he was the only good thing about the movie. The positives in Sully outweigh the negatives by a very slight margin. If this seems like your kind of film, then definitely go see it, but otherwise I do not consider Sully a movie that you should hurry and see.
6 out of 10
***EDIT: I’ve been getting A LOT of traffic to this review because a lot of you want to know what the fortune cookie says:
“Delay is better than disaster”
Also, if you’re interested, this is an interview where the producer of Sully tells you that Chesley Sullenberger truly did get this as a fortune in real life… so I guess it’s not THAT cheesy…