Captain Chesley Sullenberger: “No one has ever trained for an incident like that.”
On Tuesday, September 6, 2016, the Orange County Film Society (OCFS) kicked off the fall awards season with Sully. OCFS members eagerly filled the Regency South Coast Village Theater. Before the film commenced, prizes such as small duffle bags with Sully written on the side and posters from Warner Bros. Pictures were given out to audience members. After reminding the audience to turn off their cell phones, the theater’s house lights darkened a full house as the film began.
It’s been over seven years since the US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River. Director Clint Eastwood transports us back to January 15, 2009, when the heroic Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) landed a flight carrying 155 passengers on the Hudson River. A flock of geese had collided with the plane, damaging both engines, and prompting Sully to make an immediate and crucial decision.
Sully focuses on dealing with the aftermath of the crash, which includes a conflict that placed Sully and Co-Pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) against the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB put into question Sully’s immediate action, suggesting that Sully placed the passenger’s lives aboard Flight 1549 and his own in danger. The scenes involving the NTSB intensify as technology contradicts human execution. Computer simulations established the argument that Sully could have maneuvered the plane safely to two different airports.
Eastwood is concise in his storytelling of real life events. He doesn’t waste time on creating an overly dramatic plane crash, but skillfully develops the courtroom narrative and the psychological struggles of Sully. Eastwood fills the screen with a talented supporting cast of recognizable faces, while Tom Hanks gives a notable performance as Captain Sully. Eastwood also tips his hat to everyday people. The gratitude conveyed in this film towards emergency personnel and other workers in the city, whose quick actions helped save many lives that day, lightens the film.
As the credits began to roll, the fervent applause of the OCFS members made it clear that they were pleased with Eastwood’s Sully.
Sully is out in theaters this Friday, September 9th.