Image: Warner Bros.
On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 suffered dual engine failure due to a bird strike. Thanks to the skill and quick thinking of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the plane was able to perform a forced water landing. There were no casualties. All 155 souls on board survived.
While the public and the media hailed Captain Sully as a hero, an investigation was underway to assess whether the decision to land on the Hudson River had been the right one.
Right from the first seconds, this film is a masterpiece. Director Clint Eastwood has you tensed on the edge of your seat as you watch the events unfold.
The quiet of the opening scene is one of the few times I found a lack of musical score to not be a hindrance; it really allows the viewer to focus and try to process the magnitude of what they’re seeing.
Both Tom Hanks (as Sully) and Aaron Eckhart (Co-Pilot Jeff Skiles) have their considerable talents on display in this film. Skiles’ stead-fast support of his captain during the investigation is admirable to say the least.
There was one moment in particular for me when Tom Hanks reaffirmed his status as a brilliant actor. It has been a long time since an actor’s performance has nearly brought me to tears, rather than the story itself. Having been the last one off the aircraft, to the best of his knowledge, and rescued from the waters of the Hudson River, the captain requests a count, saying “155, that’s my number”. The palpable relief when Captain Sullenberger finds out that everyone on his flight lived? I have goosebumps just thinking about it.
The fear that must have been felt by passengers and crew alike as they heard the Captain’s instruction to “brace for impact” is simply unimaginable to me. And yet, throughout the decent, the focus of the captain and co-pilot and the constant mantra of the cabin crew to passengers, instructing them “heads down, stay down. Brace, brace, brace,” was right there, re-enacted for us by Eastwood, Hanks, Eckhart, and others. My words simply do not do it justice. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.