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
Terrifically detailed work directed by a living legend, and starring one too!
This is based on a true incident from a few years ago, where a veteran pilot actually was able to land his plane in the Hudson river in NYC and with all on board surviving. It is a terrifically detailed but slow moving work by 86 year old living legend Clint Eastwood starring the Jimmy Stewart/everyman of our era, in two time - should have been three time -Oscar winner Tom Hanks as the quietly unheroic hero pilot. (You were robbed of the statuette in 2000 for "Cast Away", Tom. Who else could play opposite a volleyball for two hours and make it work?).
I'm reminded of Eastwood's 2003 Academy Award winning "Mystic River" in that he deliberately takes his time in adapting the book, as he does here as well. The script is a little odd, shifting back and forth between the events of the day itself and the hearing to decide whether the pilot and co-pilot were at fault for not heading to one of the nearby airports. This leads to a little awkwardness during the first third of the film, but then works out just fine. We see the big event twice - The epic landing of the jet is more than worth seeing in and of itself.
Aaron Eckhart, for once, gets to play a good guy, the co-pilot. How nice to see Delphi Harrington, a much underused actress, as the passenger in the wheelchair. She was marvelous as an intelligent, sophisticated woman in the long-gone soap opera Where the Heart Is and was also believable as a trashy Southern murderess on Guiding Light and as a trashy Southern prostitute on All My Children. Here she plays a somewhat stereotypical New York Jewish mother. As a daughter she gets Valerie Mehaffey of Desperate Housewives.
Sully shows something rarely seen in movies these days, the simple heroism of ordinary people, like the ferry boat crew members who rescue the passengers from the plane.
Be sure to stay for the credits, where you will see a reunion of many of the actual passengers and crew from the flight. And as Columbo would say, just one more thing - The last line of the movie is a hoot and got a big laugh! Highly recommended.
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