During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.
On Thursday, January 15th, 2009, the world witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when Captain Chesley Sullenberger, nicknamed "Sully", glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career. Written by
During the in-flight emergency, Sully asks his co-pilot Jeff Skiles to "get the QRH." The Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) contains all the procedures applicable for abnormal and emergency conditions in an easy-to-use format. In addition, performance data corrections are also provided for specific conditions. The aviation acronym "QRH" is never explained or defined anywhere in the movie. See more »
In an early scene showing LaGuardia airport, a Continental Airlines Boeing 737 is shown with Split Scimitar Winglets that were not introduced on commercial aircraft until 2014. See more »
[At the NTSB investigation proceedings]
First Officer Skiles, is there anything you'd like to add? Anything... you would have done differently if you... had to do it again?
Yes. I would've done it in July.
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Photos of the real plane and rescue are shown during the credits. They are followed by a brief video with real people from that day including the passengers and Captain Sullenburger. See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. Society has a tendency to go to extremes hero worship for those who probably don't deserve it and character assassination for those who have the gall to be less than perfect. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger has experienced both. On January 15, 2009, Sully made the decision to land the crippled aircraft of US Airways flight 1549 right into a river an event immediately labeled "Miracle on the Hudson".
Surprisingly, this is the first film collaboration for Tom Hanks and director Clint Eastwood. Both have cinematic experience with true life stories and real people: Hanks most recently in Captain Phillips and Bridge of Spies; and Clint with American Sniper and J. Edgar. This one is the perfect fit as Hanks takes on a good man who takes pride in doing his job, and Clint brings to life a story that showcases the best of human nature.
Tom Komanicki adapted the screenplay from the book "Highest Duty", co-written by Sully and Jeffrey Zaslow. Much of the attention is given to the doubts and uncertainty Sully experienced during the NTSB review. The scrutiny of his work by the committee (played here by the ultra-serious Mike O'Malley, Anna Gunn, Jamey Sheridan) left his career and reputation dangling, inspiring nightmares that are much worse than yours and mine.
Certainly we are in awe of what Sully pulled off that morning, but as movie goers, we are anxious to see the plane crash/splash/landing. Clint comes through in breath-taking fashion. While it lacks the hysterics and drama of the upside-down plane in Flight, this re-creation is so realistic that we nearly obey the flight attendants repeated instructions of "Heads down. Stay down". Even the cockpit chatter, passenger evacuation, and first responder's (many of whom are real life folks, not actors) activities are played in matter-of-fact manner more people just doing their job. We shiver knowing the icy Hudson River water is 36 degrees, and we feel Sully's anxiety as he desperately tries to get a final count a count that he prays will hit 155.
Aaron Eckhart plays co-pilot Jeff Skiles and has a couple of memorable scenes, and Laura Linney embraces the thankless role of telephone wife of Sully during the aftermath and hearings. We get a glimpse of Sully's background with flashbacks to his flight lessons at a Denison Texas private airfield, as well as a portion of his military service. Hanks is the perfect choice for a role that would have suited James Stewart just fine if it were the 1940's.
The conflict here comes from the NTSB inquiry. Backed by computer simulators that show the plane could have coasted back to LaGuardia, we get the distinct feeling that the committee's goal is finding human error naming a scapegoat (other than Canadian geese) for their "lost" plane. It's Sully who reminds us that the committee is simply doing their job just as he was, Skiles was, the Flight Attendants were, and the first responders were.
This is technically expert filmmaking. We know the ending, but are glued to the screen. Frequent Eastwood collaborator Tom Stern handles the cinematography, and like the acting and story-telling, the camera work avoids any excess or over-dramatization. The film provides one of the best examples ever of the duality of hero worship and intense scrutiny, and how a person can be a hero by simply doing their job. The closing credits show clips of the flight's reunion and every survivor would agree that the best among us allowed a continuation of life something that could have gone to the other extreme.
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