“There was no time for calculating.
I had relied on my experience of managing the altitude and
speed of thousand of flights over four decades.
I eyeballed it.”
Respect for the pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who set down an Airbus in the middle of the Hudson River in 2009 and miraculously managed to ensure the safety of the 155 passengers. A true feat which was only possible due to his years of experience as a pilot. Otherwise, this almost impossible maneuver would never have happened. With all its consequences. And all this because of a flock of geese, who didn’t know about the traffic rule involving vehicles coming from the right, and who were massively sucked into the turbine engines.
As a result those engines stopped working. And that’s when the shit hit the fan. But thanks to the pilot Sully (Tom Hanks) who could stay calm under such stressful circumstances and who took the ultimate right decision, worse could be avoided. Though he couldn’t control the media storm and criticism he had to endure afterwards. Despite his years of experience as a pilot. But he manages to save his reputation by an inspiring thought at the last minute.
Again, all respect for the pilot. But surf around a bit on the internet and you’ll find a whole range of films in which a pilot needs to do all kind of stunts to land his plane safely. The world seems to be littered with strategically bad placed runways. Every time a pilot approaches it he breaks out into a cold sweat. Or you’ll see a Boeing landing almost sideways because of strong crosswinds. I’m convinced there were numerous heroic landings carried out anywhere in the world where a decision was made on a whim. Hopefully there won’t be a movie in the future of each incident. You feel already which way I’m heading?
Despite a top cast, with as always a magnificent Tom Hanks, a living legend in the director’s chair (Clint Eastwood of course) and some spectacular images of the emergency landing, this film still is a bit ordinary. It’s not really so impressive in terms of content. Plane in trouble. The pilot decides to land it in an unconventional place. Experts and insurance companies suggest he made an error of judgment. And finally it’s waiting for the verdict of this committee. Nothing that special.
Luckily they showed the forced landing multiple times out of different perspectives. Otherwise “Sully” would be a high-quality short film. The images of the disaster are scattered throughout the film. So you can expect a whole series of flashbacks. Not only flashbacks of the real situation but also some of Sully’s nightmares with a more destructive outcome. Besides these images we see an old-timer who starts to doubt the correctness of his decision.
And an arsenal of experts who are only too happy to prove that he made a professional mistake. Of course the main motivation for this research is that no insurance claims need to be payed. Actually, it’s rather pathetic and shameful how they are trying to discredit a reliable pilot who had an error-free and honorable career, by using thoughtless allegations. A reflection of the disrespectful nature of today’s society. I found it strange that a man like Sully ,after a successful career, apparently still would have financial difficulties because of this incident.
It’s no effort for Tom Hanks to play a perfect role. And with the right props and make-up he looks exactly like the real Sullenberger. But honestly, Hanks acts on autopilot (which in turn is very appropriate for this film). In other words, sublime, but in safe mode. I thought the inquiry committee was an extremely interesting group of actors. In real they are just a bunch of nitpickers without a shred of respect. It felt as if it was a mixture of people from other sectors, who had no knowledge about aviation and they didn’t have the ingenuity to think about that single key factor which undermined their whole theory.
Consequently, I was annoyed by their arrogance and felt a malicious delight after their defeat. Aaron Eckhart, Sully’s co-pilot, also played a modest and fairly calm role (with an impressive mustache). “Sully” isn’t really a spectacle film. And in terms of drama, it’s also not quite overwhelming. That’s probably why they portrayed the crash several times. But Sully being a hero, is beyond dispute. However, his heroic deed was more heroic than making this standard documentary-like film.