Cinema Cindy Reviews… Sully
By CYNTHIA BIDDLECOMB
“Sully” retells the story of the “Miracle on the Hudson”, the survival of 155 souls on board a flight forced to land in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. The film is based on the book “Highest Duty” written by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot of that plane.
Sully’s story is fraught with complications. Framing its telling are interviews with investigators from the National Transportation and Safety Board: the challenges to his decision to risk a water landing; the insinuation that he took an unnecessary risk with that plane and those lives; the threat that this will be the end of his career.
We never see Sully at home with his wife and two daughters; he must stay in New York for the inquiry. The press swamps his home and family. He can’t get through on the phone to his wife; her line is always busy. Everywhere he goes by day, he is hounded by reporters. And then there are the nightmares of what could have happened. And the discomfiting and excessive hero worship he faces.
Tom Hanks is perfect (no surprise) in the role of Sully, sporting white hair for the role. Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent in “The Dark Knight”) is First Officer, Jeff Skiles, who must endure the NTSB inquiry alongside Sully. Laura Linney plays Lorraine Sullenberger, who can’t imagine what her husband is going through.
Sully as author deflects all the attention to his ace piloting and gives the credit to his crew, to the quick action of the ferry pilots, NYPD water police and scuba crew, and the Red Cross and EMTs who met the survivors as they were brought ashore. Because of their quick action, the passengers and crew were in the rafts and on the wings of the floating plane for only 24 minutes. It was a cold winter day, so it had to have been a long 24 minutes. Still, everyone did their jobs, emergency procedures worked and 155 people lived to tell the story.
I’d like to say this film will give you more confidence in airline safety the next time you fly. Everyone comes out of it alive. The crew and the pilots do what they are supposed to do to save everyone. And the passengers all manage get themselves out of the plane, some even helping others. But not all of them have put their life vests on properly, and no one is holding their seat cushion as a floatation device. If you are usually quite anxious about flying in airplanes, you may want to skip this movie. On the other hand, maybe watching this movie will help you to feel less anxious; you will feel victorious, like one of the survivors at the end.
Sully is “Rated PG-13 for some peril and brief strong language.” The juxtaposition of media reports of Sully’s heroism with the unrelenting threat to Sully’s career and reputation posed by the investigation, create the irony of the story and the suspense in the action of the film. This is definitely a good movie for grown-ups and older teens, and is well worth seeing.