This week’s cinema release we chose to see was Sully: Miracle on the Hudson based on the true events of January 15, 2009.
An aircraft carrying 155 people on board had to make an emergency landing, using the Hudson River as its runway when both engines became destroyed when hitting a flock of birds.
The film takes us through the events and the subsequent investigation that followed.
Chesley Sullenberger, known as Sully (played by Tom Hanks) is an experienced pilot, who with his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles (Played by Aaron Eckhart) are taking a flight out of LaGuardia Airport, as they have done many times before. Just 3 minutes into the flight, at an altitude of 2,800 feet, the plane strikes a flock of geese, which disables both engines.
When reporting it as a mayday, the flight tower believe the plane can make a return to the airport, however this is in theory, Sully through his wealth of experience and knowledge of aircraft, believes the only choice he has to offer his passengers any chance of survival, will be to land the plane in the Hudson River.
He does so and the plane has no casualties, thanks to the incredible rescue services on hand and the support of the nearby ferry services.
Sully is quickly hailed a hero by the press, the public and more importantly, those on the plane. Whilst Sully & Stiles are then involved in a media circus, they are also under investigation from the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), who claim to have preliminary data reports that the left engine was in fact not blown, just running idle, which means they could have made it back to the airport.
Sully feels they are looking to blame this on pilot error, which would not only endanger his reputation of being an excellent pilot and his future consultant work he is planning when he leaves his career as an airline pilot. He now has to wait with all this happening, whilst the NTSB run various computer simulations.
The board led by Charles Porter (Mike O’Malley) Ben Edwards (Jamey Sheridan) and Dr Elizabeth Davis (Anna Gunn) are clearly only doing their jobs at the NTSB but are clearly made worse as being a drama film, it clearly needs a villain, in the film’s equivalent of courtroom scenes.
The film based on Sully’s own book, Highest Duty has been adapted for the big screen by Todd Komarnicki and directed by Clint Eastwood.
The film however struggles as the actual events are more inspiring than the film can make out. The NTSB whilst made out to be villains are only doing their jobs, but we know Sully made the right choices. No amount of computer simulations could account for the human factor, he had to make fast decisions in just 208 seconds or 155 people on the plane at the least, may not be here today.
Hanks is outstanding as Sully, as he normally always is. Even more so, as he is pretty much the central point of the film, as he struggles not knowing what decision will be made, knowing his reputation and career are in the balance, with the only support being phone calls with his wife, Lorraine (Laura Linney) who is dealing with other household worries of her own.
This really is a great film about hope and a real hero just doing his job, yet the film despite its courtroom sequences and legal implications never feels very dramatic, in fact it almost feels like an airline disaster factual show.
However, the actual plane sequences make up for that, as we see the real panic of those passengers as they have to brace for impact and the rush for safety upon landing.
This is a great story that is a great if not amazing film, thanks to Tom Hanks lead performance.
You can see the Sully trailer and take a test to see if you could have made the same decision at the film’s website here
You can buy Sully’s book from Amazon here:
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