Following the real life story of pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and his incredible act of heroism, Sully is a real life drama that’s stays true to the real life story in the process, never deviating far from the original tale. Despite some flashbacks that never really go anywhere, the story is solid and Tom Hanks is fantastic as Sully.
The film happily switches back and forth between during and after the event that saw an Airbus plane’s engines fail during takeoff in New York and ultimately end up in the Hudson River. The decision that saved everyone on board is scrutinised by the Aviation Board who believe the incident could have been avoided and a case is opened to find out whether the accident could have been avoided or not. This ends up being the driving point of the dramatic tension in thr film and injects just enough pace to keep the film running up to the 90 minute mark without outstaying its welcome too much.
There are times where it feels like the film would have done better as an hour long mini-film. The film features some flashbacks that don’t really lead to anything and multiple repeat shots of Sully landing the plane in the river. It almost feels like padding to tick the box of it being a feature length film and although not immediately noticeable, it does start to toward the end. Despite all this, Tom Hanks nails the role perfectly – his haunting faraway looks encapsulate his inner turmoil perfectly and he really is in fine form here, elevating the film a lot.
Overall, Sully is a good film and it just about holds on to the end before it feels like its outstayed its welcome. Tom Hanks is the true standout though and his portrayal of Sully is both heartfelt and realistic in the depiction of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders.