Sully: Miracle on the Hudson is Clint Eastwood’s best film for years. Good performances and a well-crafted narrative make for enjoyable viewing.
Veteran pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger is in charge of a routine flight when something goes wrong. Whilst the media declares him a hero, behind the scenes he faces an investigation into this actions on the flight…
With Sully: Miracle on the Hudson, director Clint Eastwood tackles a very recent and familiar story. From the premise, it is difficult to see how the film will deliver something new and engaging. Nevertheless, screenwriter Todd Komarnicki has crafted a genuinely interesting narrative, focusing on what the audience already knows and what they don’t.
Rather astutely, Eastwood does not give the audience what they expect at the beginning. Instead, the narrative commences after the incident, telling the story through the device of the investigation and through flashbacks. This works well to tell the wider story, both of the protagonist and the investigation. Eastwood and Komarnicki wisely eschew the biopic trap, instead littering the film with some brief pivotal moments in the career of the pilot.
Even though most viewers will know exactly what happened in New York, Eastwood still manages to generate a good deal of tension. The reenactment of the incident appears in the middle of proceedings. By this point, the protagonist is sufficiently developed. Furthermore, the action focuses on the very immediate aftermath; an aspect given less coverage than the act itself. Eastwood directs these sequences deftly, and generates sufficient tension in the later hearing scene. There is an element of sentimentality, but this does not override other aspects. Tom Hanks is reliable as ever, delivering a convincing performance as Sully. Aaron Eckhart provides good support.
Sully: Miracle on the Hudson is well-paced, and avoids following other recent Eastwood films in being overlong. With a strong performance by Hanks, the director delivers a solid feel-good film.