Review: Clint Eastwood returns to the game with humble patriotism drama with Sully, a feat which immediately reminds me to American Sniper. Dealing with modern unsung heroes of America, both biopics do not exuberantly show off to unravel their inner strength.
Sully centers around Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (effortlessly, Tom Hanks), an unforeseen national hero unofficially rewarded for his achievement to safely land a broken plane to Hudson River and 155 lives of the passengers, crews, plus himself. Surprisingly, Sully do not bother exploiting the ‘Miracle of the Hudson’ as the main course; it instead focuses on the aftermath – where controversy, self-denial and inner conflict takes over the victory.
Taking unusually lengthy time to get into the main conflict – surprisingly “only” hearing and questioning drama involving Sully’s crucial decision before NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), Sully really is crawling out of its kick-off. Some nods here and there about Sully’s contemplation and nightmares, along with some fragments of his past and personal discussion with his first-mate, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), first half of Sully is undeniably in the edge of boredom.
Meanwhile, seconds from the Miracle of the Hudson isn’t made a climax, but rather a catalyst to NTSB hearing in which Sully is cornered with all proofs and simulation. Rest assured, despite not being the main course, details and precisions in depicting the landing are astonishing; however, the following effect isn’t as harrowing as the chains of emotion forced over the hearing. Tom Stern’s cinematography with IMAX camera attracts most attention; but it wasn’t the strength Eastwood wants to highlight; instead, he amplifies more on the screenplay he co-wrote with Todd Komarnicki.
Sully’s self-denial along with his self-acceptance become Sully’s most fascinating part, in accordance to his chemistry with Jeff and his modesty. Sully’s confidence is humbly portrayed; where he trusts his 40-year experience more than digital suggestion, which he doubts will help for the lack of ‘humanity.’ In short, Sully is Tom Hanks in one of his finest performance as an elegantly humble hero.
In the end, sweet combination delivered by Hanks and Eastwood successfully lands formidable piece of work, despite its slow-burning first half. While the visual is a key, but the characterization and the acting are always what makes Sully warm.