The untold story behind the Miracle on the Hudson.

Clint Eastwood directs Tom Hanks in the role of Chelsey Sullenberger, the "Miracle on the Hudson" pilot who saved lives with an incredible crash landing only to be criticised for his actions.... More

On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed Captain 'Sully' Sullenberger glide 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.Hide

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Flicks Review

Tom Hanks, Hollywood’s favourite uncle, could not have been better cast for the role of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the real-life pilot who made the call to crash-land a plane on the Hudson River with 155 lives on-board. He’s a straightforward and likeable man – the type that Uncle Hanks plays best – confronted with a horrifying life-or-death scenario that demands extraordinary things from ordinary people. It may come as a surprise, then, that Clint Eastwood’s film starts immediately after everyone is saved. ... More

Faced with news reporters hailing him as a hero and crash investigators that suspect he’s anything but, Sully’s actions are questioned. Did he make the right call or did he needlessly put all those passengers at risk? It’s a lot to put on a guy who’s decompressing from a traumatic experience, especially when the apathetic investigative board grills him by comparing his perilous performance to a computer simulation. By refusing to show the actual crash until it’s necessary, Sully’s uncertainty becomes the audience’s – and it’s intense.

It’s a fantastic narrative manoeuvre that uses flashbacks with stern purpose. The flight is seen more than once, but each time changes the perspective slightly to aid the current legal situation. Even more impressive is how the sequence still manages to be gut-crunchingly intense despite knowing that everyone makes it out alive.

But the soul of the film resides in Hanks’ flawlessly tuned performance. At one moment, Sully is completely confident in his decision. At another, he’s mortified at the thought of getting it wrong. His psychological swaying is hardly ever put into words, but Hanks says more with a hasty voice and a gloomy glare than lines of dialogue can. When everything comes into focus, the conclusion rests its case with a calm clarity and humane conviction that is superbly satisfying to behold.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 8 ratings, 3 reviews
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BY cinemusefilm superstar

True story bio-pics based on real disasters have little room for creativity because a major aviation incident like landing in the Hudson River is so forensically documented. However, the real disaster in Sully (2016) is not landing a plane in a freezing river, but the hysteria of the media, airlines, insurance companies and safety investigators, who all voraciously pursued their own vested interests by undermining the professionalism of a modest pilot who saved the lives of everyone on... More board.

The central incident unfolds only minutes after take-off on 19 January 2009 when Captain Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) realises that his Airbus A320-214 has lost both engines on hitting a massive flock of Canada geese. His options were to glide back for an airport landing while losing altitude over a densely populated city, or go for an unprecedented water landing onto the Hudson. His decision made history and he was immediately lauded as a hero until the media's appetite for the dark side of humanity turned the incident into a witch-hunt.

Asking was he a "hero or fraud", the really big doubters were those with most to gain if human error could be established. While aviation interests quickly pitted computer simulations against real world decision making, Sully remained focused on cockpit logic. The film spends most of its 93 minutes exploring the incident from different perspectives and director Clint Eastwood's masterful storytelling is a perfect mix of facts and human insight.

It is hard to imagine any actor who could fill this role as well as Tom Hanks. He captures the understated gravitas of a modest hero whose job exists at the fleeting intersection between saving and losing lives. The filming style draws you into its vortex while being mercifully light on CGI effects. We watch over Sully's shoulder at the controls then study his face during the critical minutes, before switching to panoptic views from the clouds.

The most outstanding feature of this film is the way it frames the narrative and its aftermath, with flashbacks and parallel sub-plots that piece the story together like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle. Disaster films are usually just action dramas, but this one is much more than that. It has the intensity of a psychological thriller as we watch Sully's own confidence being undermined in the battle between sterile computer algorithms and the kind of intuitive judgement that comes from four decades of flying. This is a thoroughly riveting film.Hide

BY DanielK superstar

I loved the recreation of the famous 2009 water-landing on the Hudson – the sequence radiates authenticity, and benefits from an unflinching, forensic quality that makes it far more compelling than any number of overwrought Hollywood products about similar subjects. Although the incident was dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson”, director Clint Eastwood goes to great pains to make it clear that there was no miracle here, just a group of workaday men and women who all did their jobs in a... More clear-headed, professional way and, in so doing, saved the lives of 155 people.

There’s also a typically excellent central performance from global treasure Tom Hanks, who beautifully embodies Sully’s submerged desperation as he struggles to deal with what the incident means for him, his family and his place in the world. He’s so good, in fact, that it’s a shame Eastwood doesn’t place complete trust in him. Along with the stunning recreation(s) of the incident itself, watching Sully’s internal struggle was really all I needed out of this movie – I certainly didn’t need to see Sully’s ongoing conflict with the NTSB investigators, which is both clumsy and phoney in comparison to the material around it, and gives off every appearance of having been injected into the story in an attempt to drum up conflict where none was needed. This witch-hunt (apparently mostly fictional, which just pours salt onto the wound) is where all of Sully’s worst acting and scripting moments lie, including one nominee for the absolute worst dialogue clunker of the year so far (“We’ve received word that the second engine has just been recovered. I have here a comprehensive report on its condition.” Wow – compiling that “comprehensive report” didn’t take long!), and another one for the most it’s-illogical-but-it’s-in-the-script-anyway-because-we-say-so face-palm moment (nobody previously thought to add those 35 seconds to the simulations? Really?)

Overall, though, I would recommend Sully for the nicely underplayed performances from its leads, its unusually low-key tone and its skillful recreation of the water-landing. The fact that the film’s final lines are a joke delivered, not by Sully, but by his co-pilot (Jeff Skiles as played by Aaron Eckhardt, also excellent) is emblematic of the film’s relative restraint in not deifying its subject at the expense of the other men and women involved in the rescue, and neatly caps off yet another extremely likeable entry on Tom Hanks' resume.Hide

BY blacknaf lister

I don't give five stars very often, but this movie is extraordinarily good. I have always said that the sign of a good movie is when your mind keeps going back to it, and you want to know more, or watch it again. It was only 24 hrs ago that I went to see the movie, and I haven't stopped thinking about it, and have "googled" everything related that I can think of. Clint Eastwood should be very proud of what he has done here. Yes, it was always going to be a good story, but his casting of... More lookalikes in the main roles certainly added credence - Tom Hanks as Sully and Aaron Eckhart as co-pilot Jeff Stiles were superb. With the rest of the world wondering at the mindset of Americans in these current times, here we saw the very best of what people are capable of. Sully was not the only hero in this movie - there were many many heroes involved. Go see it - and take a pack of tissues! I defy anyone to be unmoved by this movie.Hide

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The Press Reviews

82% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • That it unnerves you as much as it does may seem surprising, given that going in, we know how this story ends. But Mr. Eastwood is also very good at his job, a talent that gives the movie its tension along with an autobiographical sheen. Full Review

  • The fact that Clint Eastwood continues to turn out such strong, impassioned, relevant, and entertaining work in his twilight years is nothing less than staggering. Full Review

  • Even as recently as American Sniper, Eastwood has done a much better job than this of shading in the grays of what constitutes heroism, both during and after the fact. Sully is so square, it's a wonder it even gets airborne. Full Review

  • An unabashed crowdpleaser about a hero fighting to maintain that title when corporate greed threatens to tarnish his image. Full Review

  • If there’s one Hollywood star you would trust to crash-land a commercial airliner without injuring a soul on board, it would surely be Tom Hanks. Full Review

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