Magazine article Screen International

'Sully': Telluride Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Sully': Telluride Review

Article excerpt

Dir: Clint Eastwood. US. 2016. 95mins

An unabashed salute to real-life heroism, Sully rivetingly recreates the daring 2009 emergency water landing in New York's Hudson River executed by American airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. As with his unlikely box-office smash American Sniper, director Clint Eastwood decorates his protagonist with a noble crown that sometimes sits heavy on his head, and Tom Hanks gives the character a soft-spoken, conflicted dignity. Though not always as confident outside of the cockpit, Sully mostly earns its crowd-pleasing, lump-in-your-throat sentiment.

After debuting at Telluride, this Warner Bros. release will hit North America on September 9, when adult audiences will no doubt be lured by the director, star and storyline. With similarities to other films about air disasters such as United 93 and Flight, Sully should do solid business, beginning the month's stream of serious offerings which also includes Snowden and Deepwater Horizon.

Based on the book co-written by Sullenberger, Sully stars Hanks as the pilot who, on January 15, 2009, successfully guided his crippled commercial flight into New York's Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 souls on board. Although he is instantly hailed as a hero, soon he and co-pilot JeffSkiles (Aaron Eckhart) must defend their actions to the National Transportation Safety Board, which questions whether Sullenberger could have landed on a nearby runway, thereby preserving the plane and not risking his passengers' safety.

Sully seeks to give us a glimpse into the federal investigation of Sullenberger's emergency manouvere, a procedure that received little attention because of the media's fascination with this horrific story and its happy ending - especially in the wake of the tragic 9/11 attacks. Todd Komarnicki's screenplay does a decent job of making the investigative board's questioning of Sullenberger compelling, offering a peek into the technical expertise required to fly and land commercial airplanes. Even though most will know the outcome of the findings, Sully's stripped-down dramatisation provides a crisp counterpoint to the film's gripping and cathartic centrepiece.

That, of course, is the depiction of Sullenberger's intrepid piloting the damaged aircraft. …

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