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On Thursday, January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when pilot Chesley"Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all one hundred fifty-five 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
The song "A Real Hero" by French electronica artist College, in collaboration with Electric Youth, released in 2010, was about pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 water landing incident. Electric Youth frontman Austin Garrick was inspired to write the song by a quote from his grandfather, who spoke of Sullenberger and the incident. Garrick's grandfather referred to Sullenberger as "a real human being and a real hero", which became the song's refrain. The song has been featured in movies including Drive (2011) and Taken 2 (2012). See more »
When Sully looked out of the room window, In Manhattan, at the street below where reporters and news vans were gathered at least two of the news vans were from San Francisco television affiliates (KRON 4 and KTVU 2) instead of New York affiliates. See more »
As the credits roll, there is a reuniting scene with the passengers and crew. Another scene follows shortly with Sully's wife talking briefly about what has been going on at their home since the miraculous landing on the Hudson River. See more »
The film's IMAX release presented the film open-matte, at an aspect ratio of 1.90:1, meaning there was more picture information visible in the top and bottom of the frame than in normal theaters and on home video. 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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