Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort tells the extraordinary tale of the real life emergency landing of the US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, a river that straddles the line between New York City and New Jersey in one of the most heavily populated areas in the world. It is told via flashbacks and the investigation that authorities undertook after the incident.
Tom Hanks plays Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger who after a bird strike disables the plane’s twin engines makes a snap decision that untimely saves all 155 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus A320. The film starts with Sully having nightmares about a different outcome to his actions and those scenes are quite arresting.
The film continues using the plot device of the investigation of Sully and his co-pilot played by Aaron Eckhart (with his usual roguish charm). These actions ultimately cost the Airline a lot of money and the investigation is quite questioning of Sully’s actions. This plays out in an us against them way and adds to the dramatic tension of the film.
The real life story is so engaging, Eastwood steps out of the way (mostly) and lets the story speak for itself. The script is taunt and the film gets it’s timing just right. The only slight misstep is having the event’s real participants pop up during the closing credits. This now almost obligatory pandering to the audience adds little to the film’s impact and feels too much like a Spielberg ending.