Sully – a conflicted hero, a story you think you know

Tom Hanks and director Clint Eastwood look like a superb team to tell us the story behind the headline in SULLY.

They’ve never collaborated on a movie before but Tom Hanks and director Clint Eastwood are sure to be heading for awards glory with their new drama SULLY. It was termed the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’, how the pilot and Captain Chesley Sullenberger saved 155 people when both engines on his jet failed and he was forced to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River in 2009. But Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Todd Komarnicki have looked beyond the headline to uncover the story behind what we think we know and crafted an amazing film from the look of its first trailer.

Tom Hanks follows his astonishing (and for me should have been Oscar-winning) performance in Captain Phillips by playing another real-life person in Sullenberger, or SULLY as everyone affectionately seems to call him. When, in the aftermath of the heroic crash landing and with questions to answer, the allegation that Sully has been known to take a drink in the past surfaces, there’s almost a nod to his Philadelphia co-star Denzel Washington’s marvellously conflicted pilot in Robert Zemeckis’ terrific film Flight.

Sully is no less conflicted, with only his co-pilot (the always superb Aaron Eckhart) and wife (ditto Laura Linney) standing by him. Alongside them, the supporting cast includes Anna Gunn, the Emmy award-winning wife in Breaking Bad and Sam Huntington, who I thought was incredibly charming as Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns.

“40 years in the air and in the end I’m gonna be judged on 208 seconds,”  Sully says so painfully and plainly, as his whole life and career goes on trial. I think we’ll be absolutely gripped at what Hanks and Eastwood have done here and to whet your appetite for its U.K. release in December, take a look at that aforementioned amazing trailer.