Tyler K. Lopez
Hey! Who wants to get into some heavy watching? This movie is about as subtle as a plane landing in a river that cuts through one of the major metropolitan centers in the world. That is to say this movie is not remotely subtle and in typical Clint Eastwood form it starts bold, stays bold, and you better believe it finishes bold. I went into this movie expecting a strong psychological element that dives into whether or not Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is actually an American hero. The trailer depicted a tone that questioned whether Sully was perhaps not just the savior of those people, but the one who put them in danger in the first place. That wasn’t necessarily what the movie was about.
1- Writing: 7/10
There was nothing really special about the way this movie was written. The characters tended to talk about what they were feeling instead of just feeling things. Kind of like your signficant other, right? Right?… no? Nevermind. The bias of the writing is also pretty obvious because it’s a story about Captain Sully written by Captain Sully. But hey, that’s understandable. Who could resist, right?
2- Direction: 8/10
Again this is Clint Eastwood directing at it’s most Eastwoodiness. It’s raw and in your face and it’s grimacing meanly with a half squinted eye. The directing isn’t overly complicated, but your feelings will be! Who would have thought that would be his directing style?
3- Cinematography: 9/10
I’m not going to say this was an artistic movie necessarily like Birdman or The Revenant, but boy was there some vivid shots in this one. The tension at times is palpable and a lot of that comes from some visceral images. How about that word? Visceral. Nice.
4- Acting: 8/10
Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart are fantastic as always. Valerie Mahaffey and Delphi Harrington were very good as the stewardesses. Mike O’Malley does an awesome job of making me want to punch his nose. The only one I thought really over-acted was Anna Gunn. Sorry Anna, but it was a little rough. You’re still a lovely woman.
5- Editing: 6/10
This was my big gripe with the movie. There were a ton of flashbacks. I’m kind of sick of flashbacks, but the thing that bothered me was how many times the movie ended up showing the same scene. There were also a couple of flashbacks that I could do without that sort of delved into Sully’s past. They were unnecessary.
6- Sound: 9/10
The sound in this movie was tremendous. The sound of the plane crash was terrifying. More than the sound, Clint used silence and dialogue to create tension. Who doesn’t love a tense silence? I try to fit in at least a dozen at family gatherings.
7- Soundtrack/Score: 8/10
The music was a great fit. Sony got Conrad Pope, who is best known maybe for his recent work on The Hobbit, to conduct this one. It doesn’t sound like The Hobbit, but the movie definitely has its own stressful but optimistic sound.
8- Production Design: 8/10
I felt transported all the way back to the far away time of 2009 because of this production team. In all honesty though the team did a rock solid job of recreating the look and feel of that plane. After seeing pictures of the actual people involved in the crash, the production team was great.
9- Casting: 8/10
When you can nail down Tom and Aaron, the casting is a win already. Laura Linney as Lorraine Sullenberger was okay in her small role. And they somehow got Katie Couric to reprise her role as Katie Couric.
10- Effects: 8/10
It wasn’t perfect. There were some moments when the airplane might have come off of Sony’s new PlayStation 4 Pro and there was another part that involved an explosion that was spotty, but overall it was above average. Some of the effects really helped to solidify those tremendous shots I wrote about earlier.
Overall Score: 7.9/10
This is a solid movie that I think just barely misses the mark that it should have hit. There were more scenes I wanted and some scenes I didn’t. What it amounts to is a feel good story about a miraculous event, but that’s not how it was presented to us in trailers so I felt a little cheated. Still though, what you do get out of this movie is the retelling of an extraordinary feat of heroism. Also the significance of a movie about a plane crash in New York with a positive result released just two days before the anniversary of September 11th is not lost. I would recommend this movie. It’s not always easy to watch, but the story is still fantastic and worth remembering.