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Arts and Entertainment Monday, Sep. 12, 2016 4 years ago

Film review: 'Sully'

Tom Hanks is at his best portraying an everyman, confident in his ability to do the right thing.

Pilot error is the number one factor behind plane crashes. Not so in the case of US Airways Flight 1549, which purposely ditched in the Hudson River.

Captain Chesley Sullenberger managed to save the lives of all 155 souls on board. The new film, "Sully," examines what went on behind closed doors during the investigation and it's one riveting account.

On Jan. 15, 2009, Flight 1549 executed a routine takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport en route to Charlotte, NC. Just minutes into the ascent, the aircraft encountered a large flock of birds, which shut down both engines of the A320. Captain Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) quickly ascertained that the plane didn't have enough power to make it back to the airport. Within four minutes of the strike, he made the risky call to ditch into the icy cold Hudson.

The National Transportation Safety Board conducted a routine human-performance investigation into the crash. They surmised that the left engine still had enough thrust to make it back to the airport. This decision was made prior to having retrieved that engine from the river. They also devised simulator reenactments, which Sully and co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) witnessed during the hearings. When the NTSB finally brought up the submerged engine, it became obvious that Captain Sullenberger, overwhelmingly, made the right call.

In this, the 35th film which Clint Eastwood has directed, we witness that the genius behind the camera is on top of his game. Balancing stunning visual effects with the characterization of a professional who didn't feel like a hero but rather "just a man doing his job," is nothing short of brilliant.

In the opening sequence, we get a glimpse of what may have transpired had the plane turned back — one that haunts Sullenberger's dreams. It's extraordinary.

Hanks, also at his best, gives a flawless, multi-layered performance that's destined for Oscar recognition. He plays Sully as an everyman, doing his best, questioning his actions and confident in his ability to do what is right. His portrayal of this modest man stands as a testament to Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger.

The film has its lighter moments, including one in which a bartender names a drink after the lionized aviator. It's called the "Sully," which consists of Grey Goose vodka and a splash of water. Nice.

But most importantly, what "Sully" demonstrates is that the best of New York City came together at the helm of a hero and saved 155 human beings.

P.S. Stay for the credits and catch actual photos of the crash and those who survived.

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