There have been many films released this year that have been adapted by personal stories and events that have happened recently. These biopics have taken over most narratives in the past year and I must say they have been strenuous to endure because of they way the narrative was executed. Clint Eastwood returns behind the camera to deliver a tale of a Pilot who landed his plane in the Hudson. I’m sure we all heard about that particular event that happened and considered Captain Sullenberger a hero. The film itself captures the heroic nature of a human being making a rash decision in order to protect others aboard his ship.
The film begins with the plane crash itself, however it crashes and burns into a building, we later find out that Captain Sully played by (America’s National Treasure) Tom Hanks, was in fact dreaming about the plane crashing. This parallels his ongoing anxiety as he is presented with the repercussions of taking matters into his own hands and avoiding protocol when “crash landing” the plane itself. The aftermath of the plane “crash” deals with the moral values that society overlooks and dubs as human error. Sully made a rational decision, he needed to save 155 passengers and he did it in the safest was possible. However, the media and the ARCS do not agree with how he executed this landing. Sully then is under investigation claiming that one of his engines remained on idle as they were swarmed with birds up in the air. They managed to tear down the heroic claims because it was against their own rules of regulation, this parallels society and symbolizes that even if we as humans are making morally rational decisions we can still be plagued by those who do not agree with our actions or with our values. This film proves that higher powers are able to strike down anything that could go against any system that is put in place, even if they are in the wrong, they will still attempt to find a way and tear you down.
What I found the most interesting about the use of repetition of the “crash” in this film is how firstly it paralleled the PTSD anxiety Sully had from after the landing but the second use of the “crash” was after he got slammed with the claim against him. This was effective because of the amount of times Sully was set back because of the media, claiming that it was a “crash” landing, meanwhile he safely landed the plane on the Hudson. He constantly reminds everyone that it was a landing and not a crash, so the dream that he has over and over again overcomes him as he begins to think to himself that it’s almost as if he crashed the plane and he questions the system himself. Was there even a point in landing it in the Hudson if he was going to get this backlash afterwards anyway? How did saving people become a result of human error? These thoughts provoke the idea that humanity can be robotic and simulated, that their human values shouldn’t affect their decisions when there are rules and regulations in place that should be followed.
Tom Hanks does a pretty solid job with creating this struggle within him, he is one of the best actors of our generation. Sadly, this film could not match Hanks and his talents because Clint Eastwood has forgotten how to make a decent biopic. The problem with Sully is that there was not enough material to create a film around it. It is probably the most anticlimactic film about a plane “crash” that I have ever seen. We all knew the outcome because it was a biopic but that did not help one bit. The heroic thematics can only be entertaining for so long but there is no way it can hold a two hour film together with the exact same action sequence used over and over again. The use of flashbacks were completely disjointed and they were used at the wrong time. How does one cut back in the middle of a “crash” (the rising action) to a meeting (a filler scene that did not progress the plot) and then back to the “crash”? You lose your audience, you lose the anticipation, you lose the humanistic relation to the hero by splicing the most important scene in the film. It wasn’t great filming or a great decision at all, the main reason many including myself went to go see this was to see how he landed the plane on the Hudson and it was failed in execution and in emotional conduct. Eastwood chose the wrong side of the story, the aftermath was very uninteresting compared to what had happened on the plane and the story itself was uninteresting because all he did was land the plane on the Hudson. There was no “crash” and I keep using quotations on crash because he did not crash the plane, yet the entire movie was centered on how it was a crash landing when it wasn’t, Sully continuously states that it wasn’t.
I’ve seen many other films that have been more exhilarating that have been inside aircrafts like Fight Plan and United 93 that have been filmed for it’s entirety on a plane. There are better ways to execute a narrative on a plane and Sully didn’t even manage to do that. For Eastwood to decide to splice the landing was irresponsible storytelling because when he returned to the landing, I did not care for a single person on that plane. So there was the human error in itself. I found this to be very tedious and unimportant, this film is forgettable and even golden boy Tom Hanks’ performance was forgettable (I know, shocking). Sure, this film plays off of the “Not all heroes wear capes” trope but it doesn’t do anything new, it’s repetitive. How many times can one sit through a Clint Eastwood and attempt to find something good to say about it? If it wasn’t for Tom Hanks and his starpower, this film would have not been as popular as it was. I’m extremely disappointed that the human values were tossed to the side as it neared the end and as for that ending, which completely undervalue the heroic thematics embedded in Sully from the beginning of the film. The last line went to Aaron Eckhart’s character Jeff Skiles who was Sully’s co-pilot. The last line of this film was not something that concluded the heroic journey we went on with Sully, “I would have done it in July.” was the last line. How do you end a film by making a mockery out of the whole experience? People could have died. So, again the topic of human error and the emptiness of the characters put on screen can also be an additional factor of moral values versus the higher power of judgement towards humanity.