Sully – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

sullySully – 4/5 – Telling a story is at the heart of any kind of film.  The coherency of the progression can be as simple as good vs. evil or as complex as an evolving character tale.  No matter what it is, it is the story that will make or break the experience.  Every now and then, a film comes along that becomes the exception to the rule.  Sully is a film that doesn’t follow the basic story element of progression.  The story relies on a specific event that changes the aspect of an individual.  Behind masterful direction and a wonderful lead actor; Sully becomes a genuine experience.

Premise:   The story of an airline pilot who became a hero by saving the lives of everyone on board a plane that crashed landed in the Hudson River

At the heart of this film is its lead character Sully, led by famed actor Tom Hanks.  Hanks has provided us with a plethora of wonderful characters through the years.  This character is another you can add to that vast collection of amazing achievements.  Portraying a man in the direst situation; he gives us a complex individual on the big screen.  Sully is a man stuck in the middle of truth and disillusion.  You see that he appreciates all the exposure he has in media, but stays stark within a solemn approach.  For all the praise, he is conflicted with the consequences of his action.  Through interaction with others and the physical mannerism, Hanks provides a character that is trapped within the fragility of the human soul.  With a bevy of emotional draw, it is a focused characterized approach that helps to humanize his life after the event.  Hanks giving a breathtaking performance, one that shows the audience how to bring a grounded approach to a very eventful point in history.  With the rest of the cast, it is littered with many recognizable names.  I would recommend referring to the film’s IMDb page.  In short, the rest of the cast helps add believability to the iconic event.  No matter If it is Sully’s Co-Pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) or various people involved with the crash, you feel the brevity of the situation.  With each character, there is enough screen time for slight attachment of realism.  This allows for the generic archetypes to become ironically human, providing a distinct picture of the passengers, rescue workers and civilians that were involved.  There are strong emotional overtones in them; giving enough draw to provide a ‘worldly’ like mantra that doesn’t saturate into dramatization.

The direction is a very uncommon approach to detailing true events on the big screen.  When a film tackles ‘true story’ events, it usually progresses through each important moment of the ‘true story’ through distinct scenarios.  To link those scenarios, the director provides an ‘overarching’ theme that allows the character(s) to grow within a powerful purpose, reason or message for the audience.   Outside of this, there is fillers of fictionalized drama, predictable suspense and some comedic elements that helps provide girth to the story.  With no reliance on these common techniques, Clint Eastwood decides on a fragmented approach.  What he does is parallel the present timeline with the singular event.  There is no traditional linear progression of the ‘first, second and third’ acts; it is a back and forth method between the past event and present day.  You watch as Eastwood’s rubber banding method helps to layer out the singularity of the event.  This adds to the visualization through power and emotion to the airliner going down in the Hudson (Event) and Sully’s characterization in the aftermath (present timeline).  With this approach, Eastwood allows the main character to shine.  It is ironically pragmatic; moving forward while also producing different aspects, angles and perspectives of what the crash symbolized.  The masterful direction of going against the norm flows evenly with the addition of the ‘as is’ approach.  There are no outlandish explosions, overused CGI or cliché dialogue; it is just Sully, his co-pilot, the passengers and the rest of the New York population dealing with the consequences of downing the plane in an unorthodox way.  This allows for the details to unfold in a realistic intent.  There is no biased message or Hollywood-ized drama.  It is just how the story is and what happened in the aftermath.  It is sometimes wonderful to see colorful imaginative tales and dream-like escapes; but it is also a great when you see the art of storytelling coming alive through uncommon ways.  Even though the lacking of development can hinder some of the side elements that are introduced, you still feel the presents of danger that leads to decisive actions to save lives.  It isn’t unpredictable (because the story is true); but you will find a sense of hope by the time the rolling credits come on screen.

The visuals are a stark contrast to the lavish detail used in true story filming.  Instead of glamorizing the event, the backdrop is portrayed through simple aesthetic appeal.  You see the scope of the crash from multiple angles.  There are no quick angling techniques, shaky cam or saturation of color.  You just have a one shot of the event.  This works because of the unorthodox direction and its reliance on the characters.  To say there is a score would be correct.  There isn’t any real music in the background.  The lack of musical bravado actually helps the film. There is no fabrication of emotion, it is the sounds of the actual event combined with ‘everyday’ elements that captures the spectrum of the experience.

Sully is a true story that is told through untraditional methods.  Even so, it is the opposite of common tropes that helps provide a worthy experience.  If you’re a fan of Eastwood, Hanks or true event stories, this is one for you.  You will not be disappointed; it is worth the full price of admission this weekend.

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