[Review] Sully – A Timid adaptation of a Valiant act

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney

Pre-Release Hype


One has never directed a bad film; the other has delivered dozens of masterpieces over decades. So when one signs the other to play the protagonist in cinematic adaptation of a recent heroic act that everybody is talking about, it is bound to raise your expectations to dangerous heights. I mean how can Clint Eastwood direct Tom Hanks into anything lesser than a miracle? That too when the film is based on a real life event which is actually recalled as “the miracle at Hudson”.


This is the story of Chesley Sullenberger (Hanks), a pilot who became an overnight hero when he landed a plane on flowing waters of the Hudson River, when both the engines of the plane got damaged immediately after taking off. While the nation was hoisting him as a hero, the aviation authorities initiate an investigation into the crash. The movie chronicles the post-landing events. How does Sully and his co-pilot (Eckhart) cope with the stress of investigation and what fate do they face.



Hanks is once again highly effective in sinking himself in the character.

  • The major positive for the movie is its focus on the subject without trying to cash the heroism. The dilemma of the protagonists is well captured through body language rather than outrage or drama. The narrative never deviates from the main objective of the story.
  • Hanks is once again highly effective in sinking himself in the character. While the points for making him resemble to the real life Sully go entirely to the make-up team, the credit of adapting the body language and effectively portraying conflicting inner feelings is exclusively an evidence of Hanks’ brilliance.
  • He makes us realize what mind games the situation must’ve played with the real pilot. Conflicting sentiments are effectively portrayed simultaneously; the pride of saving lives, the elation of becoming a national hero and the doubts creeping in due to the investigation. One look at Hanks’ face and you know he is going through all this at the same moment.
  • The movie is rich in visuals and special effects. The fact that it was shot entirely on IMAX cameras definitely show on the screen. Production design is highly effective.



As an effect, it ends up giving the feel of a documentary.

  • Though remaining focused on the main idea and avoiding any unnecessary drama works in favor of the movie, yet at times this approach starts giving a feel of a very “unidimensional” narrative. As an effect, it ends up giving the feel of a documentary.
  • The character development is extremely shallow. Even the main character, despite a brilliant portrayal, doesn’t go any deeper than the surface. We could never understand why the characters have become what they appear on the screen. Supporting characters are even less developed and appear as mere props in the overall proceedings.
  • Editing of the film could’ve been tighter. The scene transition turned out to be a little rough on the edges at multiple occasions.
  • The climax actually turned out to be the weakest link in the whole enterprise. Though it was always know what the ending would be, yet it all happens too quickly. A little drama over here could’ve raised the bar significantly. Instead, it looks totally devoid of emotions; too factual for my liking.


Final Rating

It doesn’t engage the viewer to a degree where any sort of anticipation could seep in.

The ultimate impression the movie left at me was that of being “over-rated”. It was not a bad movie by any means, but it doesn’t engage the viewer to a degree where any sort of anticipation could seep in.

The people who witnessed the actual event in person or in media, might’ve felt more attached to the movie. But for others like me, it appeared to be a little too remote, causing an annoying indifference towards proceedings.



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