The stunning visuals and Tom Hank’s brilliant performance bring ‘The Miracle on the Hudson’ to life on the big screen!

Director: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney

Genre: Biography, Drama

Sully is a biopic on a very significant event in American aviation history; the emergency landing of the US Airways Flight 1549, in which all of the passengers survived. The film manages to be tense and engaging from start to finish. As the title suggests, the movie’s main focus is on the mind and emotions of the flight captain, Chesly ‘Sully’ Sullenberger (played by Tom Hanks), more than the incident itself.

Sully gets right into the action by showing a plane crashing into the skyscrapers of Manhattan, New York. The sequence is somewhat terrifying. We then get to know that this is just the imagination of air pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who had recently landed a US Airways flight on the Hudson River after both its engines had failed! We can clearly see that Captain Sully is very tense and anxious as this event has taken its toll on him.  The substantial media attention has also played its part in adding to his anxiety.

The movie gets into the aftermath of the crash. Sully is being widely regarded as a national hero for saving the lives of the passengers but the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) are investigating the emergency landing with a great deal of scrutiny. They are looking to find out the motivation behind Sully’s outrageous yet heroic decision to land the plane on the Hudson River. It is here that the plot starts to get denser.

Tom Hanks gives a great performance. He does a fine job in portraying the contrasting emotions of Sully both before and after the incident. Aaron Eckhart also gives a solid performance as Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot of the flight. Moreover, Sully is very focused on what it wants to achieve as a film. Many biographical movies have the tendency to stray off from the main focus of the event they are covering. But Sully is not like this. There is hardly any extraneous scene which is evident from its 90 minute running time.

Captain ‘Sully’ and Jeff Skiles

The narrative of the movie is not in chronological order. It is basically in 3 phases that are shown one after the other; the aftermath of the incident, the emergency landing itself and then back to the aftermath again. This makes for a unique movie watching experience. Sully is very tense and thrilling leading up to the emergency landing scene. And the sequence itself is very well shot and crafted with great attention to detail. Clint Eastwood proves that he’s still got it in him (as a director).

The plane landing on the Hudson river

One weakness of the film, I feel, is the portrayal of the NTSB. They seem to be too hostile towards Captain Sully during the investigation, without any concrete motives. Hence, their portrayal is somewhat one-dimensional and probably not very congruent with what happened in reality.

Nevertheless, Sully still comes out as one of the finest films of the year. The heartfelt acting and the sharp cinematography make it a thrilling experience. Sully is the type of film that quietly makes a lot of noise and does justice to the event it covers!