By Linc Leifeste | September 9, 2016
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Todd Komarnicki (screenplay), Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow (based on the book “Highest Duty” by)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Valerie Mahaffey, Delphi Harrington, Mike O’Malley, Jamey Sheridan, Laura Linney
Clint Eastwood, God bless him (leaving politics aside, please!), is 86 years old as his latest film is released and has been accused by his detractors (and many of his fans) of having lost his mind years ago (the gnashing of teeth after he talked to that empty chair!). Let me tell you, if that’s the case, then I’m putting money on your directorial skills being the last thing to go because Sully is a masterfully crafted (and acted…yes, let’s hear it for Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney, masters all) film from start to finish.
Unlike Eastwood’s American Sniper, it should be fairly easy for viewers to forget Eastwood’s politics as they take in this film. Unless the story of an older white pilot acting on his gut and in the process either saving or unnecessarily endangering a plane full of people (the film definitely pushes the viewer to an interpretation of events that equals Sully’s acts as heroic) and then being aggressively hounded by governmental forces that don’t seem to appreciate the brave but dangerous gut-hunch-actions of independent older white men strikes you as somehow carrying a political message…oh wait. Never mind. Anyway, let’s just forget politics and talk about the film.
While most viewers will probably vaguely remember the “miracle on the Hudson,” from 2009, when pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger performed an emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, most probably won’t remember the details. While the idea of his heroism and piloting skills might lurk in your head, you probably won’t remember that the landing was due to birds hitting the plane or that the decision to crash land versus fly back to an airport was controversial after the fact. Not the most obviously heroic of stories, questionably crash landing a plane after being struck by birds, but that is part of the story’s allure. Eastwood and company do a masterful job of maintaining suspense and drama while telling a simultaneously big and small human tale, no small feat in today’s cinematic landscape.