The true story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who was propelled into the spotlight as a hero world-wide, after gliding his stricken plane down after a birdstrike, and the loss of both engines, to a water landing on the Hudson river in New York. This act saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew on-board, not to mention countless others on the ground.
Based on the autobiography “Highest Duty” that details the actual events of 15 January 2009, but taking the viewer further in to what was not covered in as much detail, nor as far afield as the initial water landing, Sully deals with the aftermath, as well as the events both personal and public, leading up to that fateful day, which tested the training and humanity of many of New York’s finest. As testified by Capt. Sully himself in the hearings with the NTSB that followed, on that day, everyone pulled together as a team, did what was required of them, and not a single life was lost, allowing all those on the stricken aircraft to return home to their families and their lives.
Sully is not a disaster movie, nor is it in any way a documentary feature. Whilst the actual crash is dealt with in a way that has all the technical elements as accurate as one can portray in a film, the film covers far more. There is the expected polarisation between this event and the horrors of the 9/11 attacks, yet this one has one of the happiest outcomes that can be had of a plane going down.
The film is inspiring, showing that hero’s are born out of a need, and that the most heroic of those don’t even see themselves as such. The film also deals with the humanity of the situation, without putting anyone on a pedestal, it shows that each person has their obstacles to overcome, but still has the ability to push through, when called upon.
So, what does Sully get when it has a story that was already inspiring and dramatic, with footage of the plane appearing on news stations the world over? Then add Clint Eastwood as director, and Tom Hanks as Chesley Sullenberger, along with co-pilot Jeff Skiles played by Aaron Eckhart. You get one phenomenal movie, with a story that will evoke emotion in the hearts of those who watch. This is sure to be one that will bring a smile and a tear, to many an audience member.
Sully opens on 9 September 2016 in South Africa.