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Movie Review: "Sully"

"Sully," in theaters Sept. 9.
Photo credit:
Sully, Tom Hanks

The best film of the year (so far anyway) by a factor of 50 or so is Clint Eastwood’s "Sully."

Tom Hanks is perfectly cast as Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the guy who landed US Air flight 1549 on (not in – an important distinction) the Hudson River in 2009 – and saved all 155 people on board.

I couldn’t help thinking throughout the landing scenes of this film “How on earth did they film this?”

They did it with simulations and new ALEXA IMAX 65mm cameras, that’s how, and it looks frighteningly immediate, and cold, and like it couldn’t possibly end well.

But it did.

“Sully” (based on the book by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow) concentrates not on the stuff we saw every day on TV for all those weeks, but on the story we didn’t see: the NTSB hearings and the nightmares they gave Sully (as they tried to assign responsibility for the loss of that expensive flying machine), and the relationships that frayed (or got stronger) in the process.

Eastwood jumps back and forth, seemingly following Sully’s train of thought – now replaying the landing, later awakening in a sweat after a nightmare involving a crash; now taking us back to the 14-year-old Sully whose first flight instructor told him “Never forget – no matter what’s happening – to fly the airplane.”

In point of fact, the NTSB hearings didn’t take place as shown – immediately after the landing – but 18 months later.

But  your heart will still be tugged as you watch an investigator ask Sully such seemingly insulting questions as whether he and his wife were having marital problems.

It – and all of this film – provide absolutely riveting drama.

"Sully" starring Tom Hanks is in theaters only September 9. Check local listings for deatails and times.