Everything you need to know about Chelsea Sullenberger’s Miracle on the Hudson was pretty much told to you if you were around 7 1/2 years ago. After hitting some birds, a plane was forced to crash-land on the New York Hudson River. Due to the skillful manuevering of particularly the pilot and the rest of the crew as well as corresponding forces, everyone all 155 people survived. You may only need to watch the trailer and be done with it.
The movie which does well to cast the charismatic Tom Hanks as the quiet spoken but confident man himself who saved everybody onboard, as well as the studio to hire their oldest employee, the similarly confident and quietspoken Clint Eastwood to direct. Of the wrinkles the film adds that you might not have known of are small relatively meaningless flashbacks to Sully’s career as an airline pilot, the subsequent investigation of the crash that puts a simulation of the events to the test, and the newfound celebrity pressure the pilot finds himself enshrouded in.
There isn’t much there, or rather as Hollywood continues to scrape the bottom of the barrell of its venerable genres like the biopic and superhero films. Sully, no doubt is a wonderful, experienced, skilled and heroic person who might just fit into both mentioned genres as is referenced throughout the film and is a reference to the film’s success. But he has no more to say than you’ve already seen on tv or read in his memoir the film is based off of. The memoir itself includes other fascinating touches left out the film such as infertility and family death/ suicide that might have deepened the character. However true to the character, that of the real life character, the actor portraying him, and the director behind the film, the person shoved into the spotlight, plainly tells us what they feel is true for us to know and leaves it at that. It’s left to the audience to tell where that endsight is.
For my money, I wish there was there was somehow more. Tom Hanks, a rich actor in several ways that has a history of playing undesirable travelling companions is capable of much more than he is given here by Todd Komarnicki’s script which doesn’t have interesting dialogue and skips on being too obvious (like the musical cues) and incredibly corny dialogue that at home wife and decent actress Laura Linney can’t deliver well. The hit and miss Aaron Eckhart handles his backbone role well as he’s been known for in his best roles like The Dark Knight and Rabbit Hole. Clint Eastwood, a former army helicopter pilot himself who survived a crashed water landing brings his expectedly tame direction to his shortest directed feature ever that is as stubbornly chained to its script. It’s a shame there’s no groundbreaking cinema being done here, beyond superficially being the first film shot entirely in IMAX which I say doesn’t add much. I feel like I’m waiting on the wings here of something potentially great.
Tidbit: The famed and memed song by College & Electric Youth (A Real Hero) present on the Drive soundtrack and in the background of the Jim Gaffigan Chrysler Pacifica ad was written about Sully himself (see lyric; “155 souls on board”). Funny enough though the song is not present in the film, the Chrysler commercial did play before the film in the theatre.