First Hit: An amazing, crisp, and well-acted film about a remarkable event showing how this pilot made an extraordinary set of decisions under extreme pressure.
I was profoundly affected by how much Tom Hanks (as U.S. Airways pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger) embodied the deeply rooted sense of responsibility for the 155 people on the plane he had to land in the Hudson River.
Like Sully, I was fully engrossed in wondering about everyone on the plane. The concern is demonstrated in so many ways: 1) Sully going up and down the aisle ensuring everyone is out of the plane. His last look towards the back of the plane before he exited was telling. 2) When he asked one of the officers of the pilot’s union to help him find out if everyone got off the plane. 3) the release of the subtle out-breath while being given a physical when he’s told, the survivor's count was 155.
We get multiple views of the event. We get a glimpse of what the air traffic controller went through, his heart being in the job. We get to see how the airline's insurance company and investigators aimed to have the water landing be pilot error. We see the closeness and distance Sully has with his wife Lorraine (Laura Linney).
We get to embrace the pilot and co-pilot (Aaron Eckhart as Jeff Skiles) relationship and how this event brought them closer together. Lastly, we the audience, see a public hearing about the event. All of this in a crisp well executed 96 minutes.
The dream sequences were powerful and were reminders of how a commercial airline plane can create enormous damage to a city. The film editing of the differing views of this event, was perfect. The conclusion, even though it is already public knowledge, is wonderfully suspenseful and gratifying.
Hanks is superb. He embodies the weight of the role of pilot and all the decisions Sully has made over the years. I would want all my pilots to be this man. Linney is good as Sully’s wife. While we never see them together, and her relationship with Sully during this film is solely by phone, it works, she’s able to bridge the gap. Eckhart is wonderful and strong as co-pilot Skiles. He was perfect. Todd Komarnicki wrote an very strong engaging script. Clint Eastwood’s direction was sublime. He captured so many aspects of the event and did this in a clear concise manner.
Overall: This is a wonderfully executed film depicting a set of life saving decisions made clearly and with concise conviction.