My personal war with the MPAA has taken a pause. PG-13 is pretty accurate for this one. I could even see PG, but plane crashes are scary. I'm sure someone dropped some language and didn't pick it up.
DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood
The best thing that I forgot while I watched this movie? Clint Eastwood directed it. I was anti-Eastwood when I kept seeing previews for Million Dollar Baby back in the day. It looked emotionally manipulative and cheap. After watching a ton of Eastwood movies since then, I can say that I was wrong. At least, I convinced myself that I was wrong. Eastwood's films are mostly inspirational heartbreaks, with the exception of Gran Torino, which is just kinda cool and uncomfortably racist at times. But Sully ends and I see the "Written and Directed by Clint Eastwood" across the screen? Yup. Makes so much sense. I never get that experience anymore. I always know when I'm about to sit down for a Clint Eastwood movie, so this was a new experience.
My biggest criticism of Sully has to be how Hollywood it feels at times. The structure is too "little guy versus the machine courtroom drama", which seems to have been done before. This movie might be the example of how the biopic is almost fiction in itself. In a week where we get "Alternative Facts" as a hashtag, this might be the closest thing to acceptable alternative facts. My brother-in-law is reading the real Sully's autobiography and it is pretty much just about his marriage for the most part. The guy liked to fly and the movie communicates that idea pretty clearly. But this is a movie about a good man's destruction and it seems like that was inflated for the sake of drama. Lord knows that there isn't much to watch about a guy who is really good at landing planes on water and everyone loves him. The guy was a national hero eight years ago. And that's where Eastwood does a smart thing and manipulates the audience pretty well.
As a culture, we don't have many Sully Sullenbergers. I'm not saying that he's Gandhi, but the one thing that was always communicated across the media was that this guy was a true hero. We always want to punch holes in our heroes because most people are just normal people. Their politics don't align with everyone's so people want to tear them apart. Look at Ken Bone. Yeah, there's a name you haven't thought of in a while, right? The guy was far from a hero, but he was representative of us. We needed to root for the little nerd who asked a generic question to some of the most powerful people on the planet. Everyone loved him for a short amount of time and then, within the week, we scoured his Twitter account and grabbed some creepy stuff out of context. Now you probably hate yourself for even thinking about him, right? Sully wasn't that. But Eastwood showed how close he was to becoming that. In a world where people attack their own political parties and affiliations because others aren't as extreme as they are, we see that a man who saved everyone on a crashing plane can still almost get crucified because we need to find fault in the guy. I'd hate to be the real Sully. He's not allowed to get drunk or misspeak in public. The dude right now can't be misinterpreted because he's batting a thousand.
Eastwood knows how to shoot a movie. I have imdb up right now, so I could easily look up the Director of Cinematography, but I'm on a time crunch so I wrote a long sentence instead. The movie is super pretty and I have to applaud how the movie made an internal monologue come to life without resorting to cheap narration. After all, the events that we are all aware of would take a toll on the most hardened flyer. That's what I find more interesting than anything. It is about paranoia and the fallibility of memory. As a guy who is literally second guessing this entire review, I can't imagine how critical I would be about having to crash land a plane so close to the largest metropolis in the world. Eastwood pulls it off and it is compelling. Part of that can be attributed to the nuance of Tom Hanks. If you talk to me in real life, you'll know my weird man crush on Tom Hanks. It's just that I want to hang out with him. He collects antique typewriters, you know? The guy holds a movie together. He never goes as far as impersonation of the actual person, but I do forget that I'm watching Tom Hanks at times. (Not for long, buddy! We'll go typewriter shopping! I promise!) Pairing him up with Aaron Eckhart is also gold. I am so used to seeing Aaron Eckhart play the same parts over and over again, it's cool to see him in a kind of joe-shmoe roll. He's always the center of attention and in this, he's just a guy who is impressed by Sully. That's cool. I mean, Aaron Eckhart has a mustache in this one guys. A. Mustache.
Perhaps Eastwood is emotionally manipulative. The thing is, he's really good at it. He might make a string of inspirational stuff, but the stuff is always really well made and really worth watching. The man better live into his one-thirties because I need me some well made emotional sabotage with a sprinkle of patriotism.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.