SULLY (2016)

Genre: Drama
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Sam Huntington, Anna Gunn, Autumn Reeser
Runtime: 1 hr 36 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Coarse Language)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Official Website:

Opening Day: 8 September 2016

Synopsis: On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when Captain "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.

Movie Review:

If this reviewer had the opportunity to live to the ripe old age of 86, and be renowned as an actor, filmmaker and musician, you can say it is literally a life well lived. Clint Eastwood is one such individual. Those old enough would know him as the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western movies during the 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s, Californiaborn Eastwood was the antihero cop Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry films. Younger viewers would know him for the films he directed – 2003’s Mystic River, 2006’s Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, 2009’s Invictus and 2014’s American Sniper.

While some may feel that Eastwood’s films are too slow moving for comfort (for one, this reviewer thought that the Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby was a tad too dreary), but you’ve got to give it to the man. At 86, and after receiving critical praise internationally (he was a recipient of France’s highest honours: the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Legion of Honour medal; as well as the the Italian Venice Film Festival Golden Lion for lifetime achievement), you can bet he knows what he is doing.

And why did it take so long for Eastwood to work with Tom Hanks, one of the greatest actors of our time? Well, good things are worth the wait. In this timely released biographical drama (read: Oscar bait), Eastwood does what he does best, telling the story of an American Hero; while Hanks gets to play a character you will feel greatly for.

Some 17 years ago, veteran US Airways pilots Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffery "Jeff" Skiles made the news when they landed their airliner in the cold waters of the Hudson River. No thanks to a flock of birds which hit the plane shortly after it took off, both engines were down. To make things worse, no airport was in range and in less than three minutes, Sully made the decision to land the plane carrying 155 passengers and crew in the river – with no loss of lives. What follows is a series of dramatic events involving the media and pesky investigators which will put his career, loved ones and reputation on the line.

Running at 96 minutes, the film is masterfully edited. The story unfolds in flashbacks, and the timeline moves to and fro. Viewers are kept interested as events unfold – eagerly anticipating Sully’s eventual fate, whether good will prevail at the end of the day. It is a slow and steady tale as Eastwood takes his time to develop the story. Told from different viewpoints, you have to admit that keeping the film below two hours is a feat.

After saving Private Ryan (1998’sSaving Private Ryan), Christmas (2004’s The Polar Express) and his son (200’s Road to Perdition), Hanks plays a character who is lauded for saving the lives of 155 individuals in an accident that could have ended in tragedy. Like the previous stellar performances, Hanks effortlessly portrays a humble, everyday man who is recognised for doing great things. This is the Tom Hanks everyone loves.

This is an easy film to enjoy (the CGIis seamless, and the action scenes are harrowing), a film that will make you feel that humanity is in good hands (more so if you are an American). There is nothing wrong with that, considering the increasing amount of cynicism in countless other movies these days. Eastwood has delivered another piece of work which proves that being old is not a factor for him – he is like the fine wine that gets better with age.

How many Oscars will the film be nominated for, and how many would it take home? Will Hanks be crowned with his third Best Actor accolade? We are also hoping that Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney, who plays Jeff Skiles and Sully’s wife Lorraine Sullenberger will land Best Supporting nominations. This is a film you will want to root for to at the upcoming awards season. 

Movie Rating:

(Clint Eastwood’s sure-handed direction, coupled with Tom Hanks’ unassuming portrayal of an American Hero makes this film an emotionally engaging piece of work)  

Review by John Li

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