October 4, 2016
By Tiffany Skelnik
“Sully” is a Clint Eastwood directed film starring Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the man who became known as the face behind the “Miracle on the Hudson”. The film follows the aftermath of that fateful day as both Sully and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, played by Aaron Eckhart, remain under the scrutiny of the NTSB as they struggle with their new status as overnight heroes.
The film delivers its story in a thoughtful was as most of the events, including the miracle itself, are seen through the eyes of Sully in a series of flashbacks leading to the present day. Each facet of the investigation opens a new train of thought for the man as he wonders if there is anything he could have done differently, despite the amazing and positive outcome of his maneuvering. Hanks plays out this conflict beautifully. The sense of turmoil is clear in his performance even as he continues to stand by his decisions. Similarly, Eckhart’s performance shows how the two men are there for each other throughout the investigation, which is the center of the film. It is Skiles who provides the support that Sully needs in order to know that he did do the right thing and the men’s friendship provide the backbone of the film.
“Sully” is a different kind of non-fiction film. There is little fanfare surrounding the events other than what is portrayed by the media. The film takes a quieter approach, and the confrontations are delivered in such a way that it is clear that it is a matter of the job. This was a unique way to approach the film and it is a big part of what gives it such a powerful feeling.
Even though the viewer is on Sully’s side throughout, no other character is established as an antagonist. This goes well with the message that the film is trying to send which is that people are the most important part of what happened that day on the Hudson. “Sully” is a phenomenal film that I can see as being another career defining film for Hanks and Eckhart. It was enjoyable and I recommend seeing it.