Director: Clint Eastwood
In Theaters: 09.09
As someone whose mother works at 30,000 feet in the air on a daily basis for an airline company, you can imagine the utmost respect I have for the pilots who have brought her home safely for more than 17 years. On Jan. 15, 2009, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) made the decision to land his aircraft on the Hudson River after a massive bird strike took out both engines only 2,000 feet above New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
His heroic feat saved the 155 souls on board, and the entire ordeal lasted only 208 seconds. When I heard about Clint Eastwood directing a feature-length film about this event, I wondered how he could fill the time. What I didn’t know was the aftermath that Captain Sullenberger endured from the safety commission and insurance agency claiming that he could have returned safely without ditching the aircraft. As always, Hanks delivers an amazing yet purposefully subtle performance as an everyday man who, overnight, becomes a celebrity sensation who still remembers the disaster that could have happened. Eastwood takes the audience on the wild flight three times from three different perspectives (pedestrians, air traffic control and the cockpit), and each time, is absolutely terrifying.
At points, the corniness of experiencing the passengers’ trials and tribulations of getting to the flight take away from the true story at hand, but for the most part, Eastwood keeps to the heart and soul. Along with Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, who stars as co-pilot Jeff Skiles, is fantastic as a man who lightens the room when the reality becomes a little too dark. I actually brought my mother to the screening, and she was in absolute tears. I guess it hit a little too close to home, but I think that’s a good thing, since the world should know what a true hero did for his passengers. –Jimmy Martin