FILM REVIEWS: SULLY (USA 2016)

sully.jpgSULLY (USA 2016) **
Directed by Clint Eastwood

Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn

Review by Gilbert Seah

Director Clint Eastwood follows his high successful AMERICAN SNIPER, a story of an unlikely American hero with SULLY, a story of a likely American hero.

SULLY is the movie based on Chesley “Sully” Sullenberg’s 2010 autobiography, Highest Duty that envisions the American sense of common humanity.

The so-called miracle on the Hudson occurred in 2009. This was the safe landing on the Hudson of a plane that had two of its engines blown. The captain of the flight known fondly as SULLY piloted the plane to safety saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew. Heralded a hero but not until cleared of accusations that his decisions were not the best, this is the film that praises, or over-praises the deed.

The question is that do we need to re-watch a re-enactment of a story already told and known to most Americans? There is always a need at any time for a story of heroism. In these times of terrorist attacks, Americans need to be reminded of their heroes. SULLY seems a film to do just that.

Eastwood, known to be right-winged, has directed SULLY (Tom Hanks) to show a hero with all the right words to say and a man who can do no harm. He is blessed with a loving family and a wife (Laura Linney) who professes her lover for him constantly.

Eastwood’s film, shot in IMAX shows the plane’s landing on the Hudson in all its glorious images. But there is no suspense or thrills as the audience is well aware of the fact that everyone on board survived. The landing is shown in clumsy flashback, when Sully is having a drink at the bar, again congratulated at very possible moment in the film. Parts of the landing are shown twice as if the audience need be reminded of the heroic deed.

But with the story of SULLY already known, and no real facts provided or insight on the story, Eastwood’s film grows to be quite a bore quite soon, and remains so throughout its full 2 hours and 10 minutes, that seems to be the staple running time for all of his films.

Though Hanks has been praised for his portrayal of SULLY, his performance is nothing new. Like his role in HOLOGRAM, Hanks looks as if he is sleepwalking through his performance. Often sleepless like his character in HOLOGRAM and always thinking of what would have happened or what would have not, Hanks sulks most of the time, looking as if the plane landing was all a dream. Laura Linney who plays Lorraine, Sully’s wife mopes all the time too. The audience gets a glimpse of the real Lorraine Sullenberger, i.e. Sully’s wife at the closing credits.

The audience at the promo screening applauded and seem pleased with the film. Who would not applaud a hero? Still Eastwood’s SULLY is nothing more than a recounting of events, overpraising its hero and lacks any solid thrills or imagination.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjKEXxO2KNE

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