Sully (2016) – Review

Source: IMDB

‘I have been flying for over four decades and I am being judged for the last 208 seconds’ – It’s a line (well not exactly, but something to that effect, IMDB doesn’t have the quotes section up yet) from the movie and it pretty much sums up Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger’s ‘miracle’ landing of US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson on 15 January 2009.

Plot and Script

Sully, played by Tom Hanks makes a human decision relying on his vast experience and lands a plane of 155 people on the Hudson, making it the first flights to survive a water landing with all lives intact. The movie is about viewpoints – of the pilots (Aaron Eckhart plays the co-pilot), of the passengers, and of the investigating officers of the safety board. It shows what happened during the flight, after it landed and the investigation where the pilots were scrutinized for their decision as the simulations said that they could have gone back to LaGuardia and landed.

Considering it is a true incident and everybody survived, this film is dead serious and comes straight to the point. Simulations can predict scenarios to a certain extent but they don’t and cant predict how humans will react in a certain situation. How can one judge a person in a few seconds when they have a lifetime of experience with no incidents? That’s the question the film tries to ask.

Characterization and Acting (C&A)


I have a soft corner for Tom Hanks – he just picks the right movies maybe, or he is just plain lucky, but he is great in every movie. This was no exception. I hadn’t read much about the actual incident, and I am reading about it now and watching a few videos of the real Sully – Tom Hanks is so much like him. Calm, composed – he did what he does best, play a role and bring it to life. It was mainly his movie.

As for Aaron Eckhart, this is the second time I have liked him in a movie (first was Batman of course with him as Dent) – he plays the part well. There are other talented actors as well like Laura Linney but like I said, it was completely a Tom Hanks movie.

Sounds and Effects (S&E)

The movie has a serious tone to it and rightly so. Not much music but the sounds are great. There is a scene where the flight is just about to hit water and you can hear the air hostesses saying in unison ‘Heads down, stay down’ and its just so real that you almost do it.

Cinematography and Visuals (C&V)

I really liked the look of the movie. It is difficult to do a flight movie I think because most of the time it does look unreal, but I think Sully looked quite real. Even the water landing looked like it was how it would have happened.

Direction  and Overall (D &O)

You gotta give it to Clint Eastwood – he is all of 86 and still giving us great movies, hats off to him. His movies are about people and this was too. But at 96 minutes (one of his shortest movies), it still felt extremely stretched. And it was pretty uni-dimensional – it was Sully’s story, the audience is not given any other vantage point.

Having said that, the 204 seconds that Sully took to land the plane with no deaths is probably the best 96 minutes we have on screen.

I wonder why they took so long to make the movie?

So here are my scores according to my new system:

Plot and Script (P&S)- 1.5

Characterization and Acting (C&A) – 1.5

Sounds and Effects (S&E) – 1.5

Cinematography and Visuals (C&V) – 1.5

Direction  and Overall (D &O) – 1.5

Overall Score – 7.5 out of 10

Watch it once to know about the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ and one of the greatest stories in aviation history.


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