Ben Oliver

Banner image for Sully


Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time.
11 February 2019

The story of the ‘miracle on the Hudson’ - when Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger landed an A320 with double engine failure on the Hudson river with no fatalities. How on earth was this a decade ago?

A Clint Eastwood-directed recounting of a 208 second air incident has no reason to be intriguing at all, yet Sully is some of his better work as a director. His level headed and calm approach to directing reflects the best qualities of our protagonist, and strips away much of the glitz and hype behind the act of heroism.

Everyone loves Tom Hanks, it wouldn’t be right so say he is under-rated, but Hollywood has underestimated his range over the years. Three recent-ish roles (Captain Phillips, Bridge of Spies and now this) have shown that he can create wildly different characters by focusing in on details and nuances that perhaps others wouldn’t see.

It’s hard not to compare the post-trauma medical examination scenes in Sully and in Captain Phillips, it’s the same actor in the same situation, but Hanks uses those moments to tell completely different stories.

There are dull scenes but it’s too short to ever truly get boring. It’s quite a snappy screenplay that focuses mostly on the crash, the rescue and the inquest and never falls back too heavily on flashbacks or pointless backstories.

A cool and realistic take on the true meaning of heroism that still captivates the audience and gets an emotional response. Sully gives us a surprisingly nuanced look at an extraordinary sequence of events.