Saturday, September 10, 2016
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
L.A. Times (K. Turan) review
RogerEbert.com (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review
Sully  (directed by Clint Eastwood, screenplay by Todd Komarnicki based on the memoir Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Chesley "Sully" Sullenburger [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb] and Jeffrey Zaslow [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) is an very well crafted / well acted film -- again Hollywood at its "A-Game" -- that (re)tells the story of US Airways Fl 1549, piloted by Chesley "Sully" Sullenburger [wikip] (played in the film by Tom Hanks) which on Jan 15, 2009, three minutes into its flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York (to Charlotte, NC), struck a flock of geese causing both engines of the plane of fail, forcing the pilot to land the plane (too low in altitude to safely glide back to LaGuardia or another nearby airport in New Jersey) to instead land on the Hudson River alongside Manhattan just south of the George Washington Bridge. All 155 passengers and crew were saved.
The drama of the story turned on the subsequent National Transportation Safety Board's investigation where the judgement of the pilot, nicknamed "Sully", was questioned, "sullying" at least temporarily his reputation. Hence the story would seem to fit perfectly into the thematics of many of Clint Eastwood's films where _good regular people_ did _extraordinary things_ to either _no acclaim_ or _worse_ having their motives / results questioned, "sullied" by "experts" who really should have known better.
Here was a man WHO SAVED 155 LIVES (!!) and found himself and his career on the line before a NTSB investigative board who apparently wondered if he could have "saved them another way" ... gotten the plane back to LaGuardia or elsewhere rather than landing it on the Hudson.
To some extent such an investigation was inevitable. Years back I had been told by former U.S. Navy pilot that all U.S. military aircraft accidents are investigated in a similar manner (and the POTUS himself is informed of every such loss) as the loss of a military plane is a loss of tens of millions of dollars of machinery and so such a loss can not be taken lightly.
Still the obvious callousness of the investigation here will initially shock / offend virtually every Viewer: How can this be? The split second thinking of the pilot / copilot (copilot played in the film by Aaron Eckhart) saved the lives of every single person on that plane (plus untold numbers of people on the ground if the plane had crashed onto a residential / commercial neighborhood).
And yet, in the end, _everybody_ was "doing their job" ... the pilots who landed the plane in the Hudson, the ferries / first responders who rapidly came to the scene to bring the people from the plane to safety, and finally _even those seemingly callous investigators_. After all, EACH such accident offers us, humanity, an opportunity _to learn_ to avoid and better train for similar situations in the future.
So as hair-raising (and infuriating) as this film may be, it's certainly memorable and discussion provoking and as such certainly deserves serious consideration -- for best actor (Tom Hanks), best screenplay (Todd Komarnicki), best director (Clint Eastwood), even possibly Best Picture -- come Oscar Season.
Excellent, excellent job!
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