Movie Review: “Sully”

“Sully” chronicles the heroic efforts of US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger who landed his disabled aircraft successfully in the Hudson River, saving all 155 passengers on board. “Sully” is backed with star power as Tom Hanks plays the protagonist and it is directed by the 86-year-old icon, Clint Eastwood.

Before I give you my views on it, I would like to mention an unnamed movie critic that said this about Eastwood’s “Sully,” – “[Eastwood’s] politics may be unduly coloring his films, and it’s becoming distracting.”

Might I suggest, esteemed critic, that Eastwood’s politics isn’t coloring his movies more than your politics are coloring your idiotic reviews. I hate to even give this lunacy a mention except to say if you find something politically unsettling about “Sully” then you have some serious problems.

“Sully” is exactly the type of movie we, as a country, need at this time. A reminder that there are heroes, real-life heroes, who do extraordinary things which are colored by race, politics, or any of the other issues which so often divide us. It’s a story about a man who simply did his job, and in doing so, saved a lot of lives in the most humblest of ways.

Hanks gives a terrific, understated performance. The mixed feelings, the doubts, the second guesses come across effectively to build the makings of as tense of a human drama as you can make without there actually being a tragedy.

Eastwood’s direction deftly juxtaposes the past and present to show a two-pronged approach to the story, while mixing in just a tad of Sully’s backstory as a boy and Captain fighter pilot.

The two tiered tension is first on the plane and it’s miraculous landing, but the main conflict of the film lies with the NTSB, which while doing its due diligence in investigating the craft, sets up a wedge between itself and Sully, peaking at the dramatic hearings which reveal if Sully was indeed a hero or simply a pilot who made the wrong call at the wrong time.

It’s all right to walk away from a movie feeling inspired once in a while. It’s okay to realize that life isn’t always a disaster, and that there are people who do the miraculous. We call them heroes. And the world is better off because of them. Just ask the other 154 who were on that flight. I think they would agree.

Life on the Hudson: A Description

I wrote this last summer as I was taking in the views of the Hudson River just north of New York City. It was a descriptive writing exercise. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

A majestic brick manor sits high on the banks of the Hudson River at the Tappan Zee – the broad river expanse – miles across – which spreads the Hudson like a lake – wide and proud commanding the sight line of all who stand above it.  The house is red brick, with white, oak trimmed windows and porches – the river-facing porch upheld magnificently by two solid pillars of oak, round and smooth – near obelisk-like, except for the shingled roof which connected the two with a wide, angled canopy. Three stories with enough rooms to hold many stories of their own, the mansion is nestled between assorted fruit and hardwood which shields it enough from the wind but still affords it a splendid view of the water below.  Four chimneys reach high from the four corners of the house reminding one of intimate talks and treasured moments on the bearskin rugs beside the crackling embers.

Over the bank, on the cusp of the river sits a white, wooden gazebo, intricately carved, replete with matching white benches attached directly onto the sides, slotted with smooth, rounded spindles spun meticulously on the lathe of a splendidly skilled carpenter.

The gazebo sits on the edge of a long wooden dock which juts straight out into the pale, stagnant rim of the river.  The dock affords a lovely spot for a picnic lunch, a short paddle excursion to the beach or a place exquisitely designed for pondering the remarkable beauty of the Hudson River Valley.

If a certain writer with a penchant for pondering would sit, feet dangling, pen and paper in hand, waiting for the muse to come, what would he see?

A vast, sparkling sea, slow moving, half glittering with shiny shards of light flickering quickly back and forth.  A darker, shadowed portion, water exposed to the shielding of the hill behind it which covers its light from the early morning sun.  A single boater, paddling long and swiftly, leaving a lonely line on the smooth canvass, not unlike that of a jet leaving its mark across the blue empty sky.  A swift moving train, clinging to the distance shore, moving steady and quick, like a row of ants, purposeful, pushing, a slow moving bullet in a straight line, barely above the shimmering reflection of the water, almost as if it too is gliding on the water like a chain of floating boxes.

An expanse above in sky blue.  An expanse below in jittering light – dark and bright.  A forested hill in the distance separating the two.

This is life on the Hudson.