Friday, 18 November 2016
96 Mins. Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Holt McCallany, Michael Rapaport & Laura Linney. Director: Clint Eastwood.
BRACE! BRACE! BRACE! HEADS DOWN! STAY DOWN! We'll get right into it like this film does so attention awakening. Only this writer would watch 'Sully' on a damn IMAX screen two days before taking a flight to New York. But when your Captain Sully speaking is 'Captain Phillips' Tom Hanks, taking flight like his 'Philadelphia' co-star Denzel Washington you know you are in good hands. Even when nobody prepared for this. Even when "this is dual engine failure at 28 hundred feet, followed by an immediate water landing with 155 souls on board". Thank God acting great Hanks has finally alinged with acting legend and directing one Clint Eastwood in the co-pilots seat like Leonardo DiCaprio ('J.Edgar'), Matt Damon ('Invictus' and 'Hereafter') and Bradley Cooper (in Eastwood's previous picture 'American Sniper') to give us one of Clint's greatest movies alongside 'Million Dollar Baby', 'Changeling' and 'Gran Torino' (notice the electric Times Square Easter Egg? This isn't a shameful plug this is as accurate a 2009 commercial billboard as the proof of time magazines on the airports classic Hudson News racks). And as Hanks responds to the 'Highest Duty' (and book you'll probably, somewhat strangely find in those same newsagents) of real life Captain Chesley 'Super Sully' Sullenberger, with Eastwood he recreates the miracle that happened on the Hudson only some seven years ago. As birds scarier than Hitchcock took out both engines shortly after Sully's flight left the terminal, forcing him to turn back and land ON the Hudson as there was no chance of returning to any of New York's major airports from JFK to LaGuardia. A crash landing in the city only devestated by its biggest aerial attack and cruel tragedy by the hand of terrorists only some eight years prior. All this in mere minutes after tray table stowed take off. All this yet the brave and brilliant Sully and his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles saved all 155 people on board without a scratch on them. Still Sully faced technical and legal drama questioning whether he could have made it back however as he was asked a myriad of personal questions like 'when was his last drink', 'does he have any problems at home', as his 40 years in the air was judged on 208 seconds. Now in playing Sully if you're going to judge Tom Hanks 40 years on screen between 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Apollo 13' and 'Cast Away' and 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' and 'Bridge Of Spies' on 96 minutes than this just may very well be his best. Brace for impact!
Captain Hanks who right now on Amy Adams double feature form is also igniting the 'Inferno' of Dan Brown's latest 'Da Vinci Code' book adaptation has courage under fire here. The fall favourite of November reign, playing a real life legend like 'Saving Mr. Banks' is a measure of outward, cool calm with aggravated anxiety below, under 'Captain Phillips' pressure under threat. With 'Saving Private Ryan' dedication to duty and a 'Cast Away' soul that will let no in-flight worst nightmare hell or high water break him. His mild-mannered 'Bridge Of Spies' heart under make or break circumstances on an out of this world, 'Apollo 13', life or death stake is raised to a miraculous high. All on an 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' IMAX immersed scale (that sounds like your right under the plane like a pair of ear mufflers and ping pong paddles) that doesn't just take you in to the cockpit, but X-ray inside the central nervous system and every strained strand of Hanks' Sully personification. And as Tom from air to sea makes it back to dry land that's when the real acting takes wing. As the Academy Award winning actor takes off towards his next Oscar, no 'Captain Phillips' or even 'Bridge Of Spies' snub (we can only hope). Ingraining the isolated loneliness of a man in the public and procedural not so private eye, locked in his hotel room with his dreams and wrongly perceived demons, a million miles and a phone call away from the woman he loves that he needs to hang on and not hang up. A celebrated man almost haunted by this and not the hundreds of lives he saved and families he brought back together, but the ones he felt he could have endangered if his miracle nose-dived into a tragedy. Hanks captures the conflict of this heroes heart perfectly with diligence and due respect and restraint all on Clint Eastwood's deubuted IMAX directing cameras (taking off early against an 'Arrival' of 'Loving', 'Fences', 'Birth Of A Nation' Oscar favourites like 'Manchester By The Sea') that tell a more poignant story than the thousand of news reports that brought remote control click-bait, harrowed drama without a shred of consideration to the families watching of this averted disaster.
And a disaster movie this is not, as Eastwood moves beyond the blockbuster lights to give us the human touch of this story of great humanity in the face of unfathomable responsibility. As the accounted for passengers and crew and the emergency services of New York came together like they did on their darkest day more than a decade ago to throw themselves in the line of duty in saving and preserving lives. It's an inspiring not overly dramatised look at Americans coming together as one in a time they sorely need it. And aside from some midtown madness plane crash nightmare scenarios made IMAX scale deep real, that still all seem too soon after 9/11 Clint, ever the master of personal and dramatic subtely doesn't over do it. Instead going for just the facts, one being that this century in the making film icon may well be a better director than he is an actor...and that's really saying something. And the rest of the cast and crew from three stewardesses that look and are in sync like sisters (character or actor...amazingly they're not) to a recognisable list of passengers all play their part in this miracle. From the always responding to the official call of duty Holt McCallany (who recently starred with another 90's golden era Tom in Cruise's 'Jack Reacher' sequel 'Never Go Back') and everyones favourite New Yorker and now barman Michael Rapaport. Leading lady Laura Linney also responds to the call with a stand by her husband, show of great acting support on the cordless that is anything but phoned in. But it's the great Harvey Dent, Aaron Eckhart on the 'Dark Knight' form of his life that is the closest to an award like the two faces of legends Hanks and Eastwood. The man who is also balding in Miles Teller's corner for the knockout 'Bleed For This' is only going up against himself in the supporting actor stakes as here he is the perfect wingman with a maverick, magnum moustache, no Goose tragedy. But for what it's worth with all these top guns, for what they have directed and acted here, Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks deserve the Oscar. But for what they actually did then, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, Jeffrey Skiles and the rest of New York's finest involved in the 'Miracle On The Hudson' deserve a medal. TIM DAVID HARVEY.