Sully: Film Review


I’m sure we have all heard about the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ plane landing in 2009 – all 155 passengers and crew survived a forced water landing on the Hudson River after a bird strike thanks to Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles – but I certainly had no idea of the investigation they were subjected to afterwards so I’m glad this film exists to show the other side of the headline-grabbing news.

Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart play Sully and Skiles respectively, who are flying from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Charlotte, North Carolina but within moments of their take off they are hit by birds and both their engines fail. Sully doesn’t believe he could make it back to LaGuardia so he successfully lands on the Hudson River in freezing cold January. Everybody survives but the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) – led by Mike O’Malley and Anna Gunn – practically accuse Sully and Skiles of incompetence and try to blame it on them as simulations shows the plane could have made it back to a runway. They have to put their careers on hold for 18 months while the board determine whether they made the correct decision during that fateful flight.

It is astounding to me how Sully was treated considering his quick thinking and skills saved everybody. They should be congratulating and patting him on the back rather than suggesting he made mistakes. I would get it if he lost someone but he didn’t! People may find these deposition scenes boring because they are very talky and dense but I was fascinated by them in an incredulous way. I could not believe what he was being put through.

If people come into this movie thinking it will be an air disaster-style thriller, they will be mistaken and very much disappointed. The recreation of the incident is shown from different perspectives but the focus is very much on the investigation afterwards. I don’t really see how it could have been done another way – the flight is over within minutes of take off and nobody dies, so it’s not a disaster. Luckily, it is edited in a way that the talky investigation is split up with scenes from the flight, the passengers’ escape onto the wings and local boats helping them to safety as well as scenes with Sully chatting to his wife Lorraine (Laura Linney) and having visions of what could have happened.

I was absorbed throughout, Hanks is a likeable hero who can give a rousing speech and the flight recreation was simply riveting. I highly recommend.

In cinemas Friday 2nd December 

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