If you need to land an airplane on a river, your first choice is obviously Captain
The Oscar winner plays up his innate everyman ability as the hero pilot of Sully (**½ out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters nationwide Friday), the true-life rescue drama directed by
As he did with his deadly Middle East missions in American Sniper, Eastwood puts the audience right in the cockpit crisis, with the captain and first officer Jeff Skiles (
Instead, most of the film’s conflict occurs in the aftermath: Both pilots are hauled in front of a
For his part, as he’s done in so many movies (such as last year’s Bridge of Spies), Hanks pulls off the earnest optimism and unassuming humility that made Sullenberger a media darling right after the incident. Eckhart’s Skiles has a little more edge to him, and together they’re a fantastic and often funny duo when the pilots have to defend their actions.
While it's not a biopic per se, some of the main character’s backstory — and how this guy was able to steely save all 155 aboard — is hinted at too fleetingly, and what’s learned of his personal life is gleaned haphazardly from teary calls between Sully and his worried wife (
In some ways, Sully makes the extraordinary almost too ordinary. But when Hanks proclaims to bureaucrats, “We all did it, we all survived,” it’s not hard to feel a little proud re-living a moment of mankind being awesome to each other.