Monday, July 17, 2017

Sully: Well Told Story of the "Miracle on the Hudson" Emergency Landing

Movie Review: Sully (2016)
Version: Library borrow

You may remember the "Miracle on the Hudson" landing of a passenger plane on the frigid Hudson River in New York City in January 2009. Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger became an instant hero for saving the lives of all 155 aboard his flight when the plane was disabled by a bird strike that took out both engines and required an emergency landing. That's the story depicted in great detail in the film Sully.

While the film shows as the dramatic events unfold in the flight, the real conflict is between Sully, played with excellence by Tom Hanks, co-pilot Jeff Skiles (played by Aaron Eckhart), and the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) members, played by Jamey Sheridan, Mike O'Malley, and Anna Gunn. The NTSB was just doing its job investigating what happened in ditching a perfect good commercial aircraft into the Hudson River instead of returning to any of a few nearby airports, the investigation turns personal when the Board questions Sully's judgment and 30-some years of flight experience in making the decision. But it turns out not everything is as it seems in the investigation, and Sully and Skiles must defend their assumptions, their decisions, and their actions.

Laura Linney plays Sully's wife, following the drama on her own at home. She always seems to play a downer part, and in Sully it's no different.

Tom Hanks is humanly likable as Sully, a non-assuming professional pilot just doing his job to protect his passengers and crew. Eckhart is smart as the capable and loyal co-pilot, who doesn't for a second doubt decisions reached in the cockpit, despite the computer simulations and pilot simulated runs. And Sheridan and O'Malley are masterfully plotting as the Board members eager to show Sully and Skiles weren't heroes but endangered the crew and passengers and needlessly destroyed a multi-million-dollar piece of equipment. The acting is good and the script is well written to produce a fine drama that tells a wonderfully human drama.

The movie includes impressive film sequences of the bird strikes, the plane approach around skyscraper-infested New York City, and that final breathtaking landing into the Hudson River, not to mention the amazing escape from the plane and rescue by NYC ferries and police. You can't help but be moved by all that Sully and Skiles faced to bring all aboard that flight out of danger safely.

This is definitely a film everyone in the family can watch. Heroes aren't born easily, and Sully is a fine example of what one man, one team, went through to make the grade.

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