Sully

Directed by Clint Eastwood, Sully is a well-crafted movie that tells the amazing true story of the Miracle on the Hudson when Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City on January 15, 2009. With its relatively short runtime and attention to detail on what happened during and after the flight, the film feels more like a documentary. Much of the story takes place after the incident during the investigation when Captain Sullenberger, played by the always terrific Tom Hanks, is being questioned by the National Transportation Safety Board. The movie is particularly fascinating because it delves into largely unreported details of the bureaucratic aftermath of the miraculous water landing. It shows the various attempts of trying to recreate his actions on a flight simulator and the criticisms of what he did as a pilot despite the survival of all 155 passengers and crew members. The overly officious aviation officials take up the role of the archetypal bad guys while the audience cheers for Sully to be rightly recognized for his heroism. The film is particularly effective in dramatizing the actual incident and the realtime reactions of Sully and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles portrayed by Aaron Eckhart. Interspersed with the technical aspects of what happened, there are personal scenes of Sully having flashbacks and nightmares and emotional encounters with his family and total strangers praising him as a hero. The audience comes away with the feeling that Captain Sullenberger is a very humble man who feels the attention is not merited because he was simply doing his job. Overall, I found the film to be a particularly powerful case study of heroism and that the world, despite all of its problems, is full of amazing people and inspirational stories. It reminded me of the 2012 movie Flight because it also focused on the actions of a pilot saving many lives but also under the microscope of an investigation. However, in this case, Sully is unquestionably a moral man while Denzel Washington’s character is deeply flawed with substance abuse issues.

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