SYNOPSIS: In a thrilling story inspired by actual events from the Battle of the Atlantic, Tom Hanks stars as a first-time captain who leads a convoy of allied ships carrying thousands of soldiers across the treacherous waters of the “Black Pit” to the front lines of WW2. With no air cover protection for 5 days, the captain and his convoy must battle the surrounding enemy Nazi U-boats in order to give the allies a chance to win the war.
Tom Hanks is no stranger to WWII dramas and movies. Having starred as Captain John Miller in Steven Spielberg’s iconic Saving Private Ryan, producing the much-loved Band of Brothers and The Pacific TV series. Hanks certainly is a huge fan when it comes to historical military warfare. In his latest starring role in which Hanks also wrote the screenplay, Greyhound is inspired by events during the Battle of the Atlantic and it never loses steam the moment Hanks character walked into the picture.
Hanks plays Naval Commander Ernest Krause who is on his first ever mission to protect a convoy of Allied transport and supplies ships from the United States to Great Britain. For five days, the convoy will be without air support and this is the time where they will be vulnerable to attacks from German submarines or otherwise known as U-boats.
With the exception of a brief moment of meeting Krause’ love interest (Elizabeth Shue in a cameo) in the opening sequence, Greyhound has no time for any backstories or unnecessary flashbacks about the religious Krause or his bunch of heroic men onboard their codenamed “Greyhound” destroyer. Well depending on your preference, this might be the weakest link or the best judgment call ever made for a movie set in World War II.
Hanks’ screenplay is focused solely on the mission. Instead of war movies liked Crimson Tide and U-571 which took place mainly inside a claustrophobic submarine, the action of Greyhound revolves around and in-and-out of the destroyer occasionally intercuts with wide shots of the vast Atlantic Ocean. Director Aaron Schneider does a great job maintaining the tense action without sacrificing the naval jargon and marine accuracy. As most of the U-boats are not visually visible, the battle of skill and ammunition against the enemies is often aided by the use of sonar and human sightings (which can be a little too late at times).
Ton Hanks never fails to entertain with his on-screen performance. As Ernest Krause, Hanks portray the man with much nuance and allowing the audiences to see a character that is both equally stoic in front of his trembling men and fearful of the unknown deep in his heart. Once again, we seen yet again another top-notch performance from the Oscar winner after Sully and Captain Phillips. If Hanks fumbled at his role, Greyhound probably sinks with it as well. English actor Stephen Graham (The Irishman) is the only familiar face here besides Hanks as the latter plays Charlie, Krause’s trusted Lieutenant Commander.
Despite some less than stellar CGI which is kind of disappointing since the movie was due to be release in theatres until the Covid-19 pandemic hit hard. Greyhound is a compact, action-packed WWII title that is perfectly enjoyable on the small screen with a Dolby Digital surround certified soundbar. Unless you mind the absence of character development or even putting a face on the Nazis, this is pretty much a compelling watch from the get go.
Review by Linus Tee