So… the Sully movie. Most Americans are passingly familiar with the plot as it was a national news story.
In 2009, Captain Sully, pilot of a passenger jet, gets engine trouble right after taking off from New York. There’s no time to turn around and land on the airstrip. He stays calm and lands the plane in the Hudson River. Ferries and emergency services respond immediately and everyone is rescued with no significant injuries.
Seems pretty simple which leads to the question I heard most people ask about this movie, “How does it fill up an hour and a half of time?”
While we see the crash in flashbacks twice, most of the film’s focus is on Sully’s experiences afterwards. The central conflict being the airline wanting to blame Sully for not attempting to return to the airport.
Sub-plots include Sully experiencing some minor PTSD from the incident, the media attention placing stress on him, the copilot, and their families, and Sully’s general discomfort with the amount of attention for doing something that seemed natural to him.
I did not follow these events as they occurred in reality seven years ago. I was still in high school, lived on the West Coast, and had a disdain for all current event related topics.
That said, I do feel like Tom Hanks was a good cast to play Captain Sully. Aaron Eckhart played a pretty convincing Copilot Stiles as well (and I appreciated seeing the both of them with moustaches).
The movie bounces around in time A LOT. Way more than I expected going into it.
I feel like this non-linear method of storytelling was definitely the right choice, but I could also easily see it be confusing and difficult to keep up with for some audience members.
The movie tells the real story and it tells it well. I enjoyed it, but I had a nagging thought in the back of my mind.
The 2012 film, Flight, starring Denzel Washington tells essentially the same story, but everything is turned up to 11.
Sully is a great guy who saved a lot of people by landing a plane in a river. He’s great and he’s REAL.
Washington’s character in Flight is an alcoholic, a cocaine addict, is sleeping with his stewardess, and the best part of all, he saves the plane by doing an aileron roll during an uncontrolled dive to lose momentum. The central conflict is the pilots union’s attempts to cover up the fact that Washington’s character was drunk and high on cocaine at the time of the crash.
You can imagine that all of that adds a little excitement to the story.
The crash scene is intense and you can watch in on YouTube here.
If you want to see a movie that stays close to the true story, go see Sully. If you want to see an exciting thriller that is a bit further removed from reality, then you should go rent Flight. Both movies are tense and entertaining, Flight just has more of whatever Sully has except for the truth.