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Post-crash drama sullies crash landing

Published:Sunday | December 4, 2016 | 2:25 PMDamian Levy
In this January 15, 2009 file photo, passengers in an inflatable raft move away from an Airbus 320 US Airways aircraft that had gone down in the Hudson River in New York, now the basis of the movie ‘Sully’.
Academy Award winner Tom Hanks as ‘Sully’.

As a fairly young, but avid, viewer of motion pictures, many of the movies that are based on true stories are about stories I either don't remember or wasn't alive to see. However, in the ever-flowing stream of time, events continue to occur and then are recreated to be enjoyed from the comfort of the cinema.

Recently, there was Captain Phillips, and now, there is Sully, both about captains surviving a 2009 tragedy and both starring Tom Hanks.

Go figure.

Sully, of course, is the story of the 2009 forced water landing in which Captain Chesley Sullenberger (it's a wonder he chooses to be called Sully) landed a commercial airplane with 155 people on board, after both engines failed, on the Hudson River. A story like that is amazing on its own, but is the movie any good? Well, yes, but I'm not certain I needed to see it.

Sully is a movie that suffers from its publicity. The sequence of the landing itself is thrilling and makes for an incredibly immersive portion of the film - but it's only a fraction of the runtime. The rest of the movie looks at Sully himself. Tom Hanks gives a ... well, sullen performance as a man who's suddenly thrust into fame while dealing with an investigation of the incident.

The film attempts to create tension in the investigation of the landing, but it comes across as artificial. The type of dramatic reimagining you expect from a Hollywood movie pushes it into a sort of real-life fantasy.

Hanks' performance is layered and gives Sully a humanity that helps reconcile his seemingly superhuman feat. There's a clear attempt to make Sully as ordinary as possible, complete with incomplete house payments and other financial struggles. It's a little undercut, though, at the end of the film, when you get a clip of the actual captain, who is so gentle and kind, he makes Tom Hanks look like Clint Eastwood.

The film is well cast and well acted all around, but it's naturally more interesting if you weren't, at least, somewhat familiar with what took place seven years ago. For those that were, it's a decent character study of the humanity behind the people we so quickly turn into celebrities in this Internet age, where every action is analysed and under scrutiny.

Rating: Half Price