“Sully” soars to box office success

“Sully” is the movie that Captain Chesley Sullenberger deserves for his quick thinking and precise actions that saved the lives of 155 people on US Airways Flight 1549. The movie, starring Tom Hanks, is based on the emergency landing of a passenger airline in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009, after a flock of geese took out both engines immediately after take-off from LaGuardia airport.

Despite knowing the outcome, which has been hailed as the most successful water landing in aviation history, the audience was tense through the entire cinematic reenactment. The film jumped back and forth between Jan. 15 and the investigation that followed.

  “Sully” highlights the heavy questioning and criticism that Sullenberger and his co-pilot, Jeffrey Skiles, endured from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). While all of the passengers miraculously survived, the NTSB was fixated on the results of flight simulations that suggested the pilots could have landed the plane back at either the LaGuardia or Teterboro airport.

Tom Hanks delivered in “Sully”, his most recent portrayal of an American hero following a string of similar roles. Hanks also appeared as James B. Donovan in Bridge of Spies, Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, and Richard Phillips in Captain Phillips. The meticulous care he puts into accurately representing each real-life personality behind the script really shows on screen.

The cinematography was successful in evoking the heavy emotions of a pilot after narrowly avoiding a crash. The dim lighting and silence that pervaded the scenes in which Hanks is alone captured the endless thought processing of Captain Sullenberger. Often they were edited next to scenes of Sully running by himself in the winter cold, trying to clear his mind. The computer-generated effects of the plane ditching were utterly realistic, perfectly capturing the contrast between a cold New York day and the force of an Airbus disturbing the glassed-over Hudson River.

Supporting actors also contributed to the suspension of disbelief. Laura Linney balanced the shock and concern in her performance as the wife of Captain Sullenberger. Her delayed realization that Sully could have died if the water-landing wasn’t successful resulted in one of the most genuine scenes in the film. The minor storylines played out by passengers on board added nearly as much stress to the crash scene as the reaction shots of New York businessmen staring out the window, unsure if this was a crash or another attack on America’s most populated city.

Overall, the movie offers a gripping retelling of Flight 1549, and the 96-minute runtime leaves the audience emotionally exhausted from the drama. The end of the film offers a sigh of relief before footage rolls of the real Captain Chesley Sullenberger, a reward to the audience who just experienced the Miracle on the Hudson.

Written by, Brooklyn Dippo, Editor in Chief