The film “Sully,” released on the 15th anniversary weekend of 9/11, topped the box office its opening weekend with a total earnings of $34.5 million. Director Clint Eastwood did a great job of commemorating the heroism displayed in the tragedy of 9/11 by portraying a success story that occurred in New York City eight years later. “Sully” skillfully captures the story of what made an ordinary U.S. Airways pilot, Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, played by Tom Hanks, a national hero.
On January 15, 2009, experienced pilots, Captain Chesley Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffery Skiles began their unexpected day by boarding and preparing U.S. Airways Flight 1549 for takeoff. Flying 155 passengers from LaGaurdia Airport to Charlotte, South Carolina was a daily routine, but suddenly disaster struck. Nearly five minutes after takeoff, a flock of geese hit the jet. The engines sucked up the geese, disabling both of them. With no engine power, the skyscrapers of New York City below them, and no airport runways in the proximity, Sully performed a risky water landing on the Hudson River. With the help of nearby water taxis, as well as the New York Police Department (NYPD), each of the 155 passengers survived by huddling on the wings and life rafts of the sinking jet.
Back in 2009, this event was all over the news. Many news stations, as well as the passengers and flight attendants, praised Sullenberger as a hero. However, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) questioned Sully’s actions in an investigation. The board wondered if the water landing was necessary, and if Sully had enough altitude and power to land successfully on a runway.
In the film, Eastwood successfully transfers juxtaposing scenes of nail biting suspense to tranquil moments of everyday life and keeps viewers constantly engaged. Eastwood takes this well-known American event and introduces an intriguing new perspective by changing back and forth between the past and present, instead of a traditional chronological story line.
Most importantly, Tom Hanks does a wonderful job of showing the ‘turbulence’ Sully experiences within himself by depicting the confusion and stress that arises from his new life in the spotlight, while also revealing the pain and disturbance he feels after his recent traumatic experience. The way Hanks skillfully expresses the emotions of his character helps create a connection between Sully and the audience.
Recently, if you wanted to go see a movie about a hero, you would go to see a Marvel movie. When you think of heroes, fictional characters such as Spiderman and Batman probably come to mind. You will feel inspiration from Sully the same way you would feel it after watching Iron Man save New York City. Sully is human. He is relatable. And that is what makes the movie so incredibly uplifting.
Click here to see the official movie trailer for “Sully.”