Sully Screen 18 articles



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  • In a cultural landscape where the only real heroes wear capes on the big screen, it does sometimes seem that we as a society give more leeway for imperfection to the heroes we create than the ones that live among us. For better and worse, Eastwood’s portrait of Sully reeks of sincerity, cherishing old American ideals of stoicism and frontier heroism.

  • Hanks works overtime to create the impression of a character study rather than a hagiography—Sully's discomfort at being recognized and lionized, while nobly salt-of-the-earth, suggests genuine inner turmoil—but the rah-rah conclusion (complete with evidence introduced at the last minute, inspiring formerly hard-ass authority figures to acknowledge our hero's righteousness) scuttles all of his efforts.

  • Sully is such a stacked deck. It has to be, because it's essentially created from whole cloth. The villains in this film -- the investigator anxious to take him down (Mike O'Malley), and by implication, an airline hoping to avoid liability -- don't exist. And, as depicted by odd Komarnicki's blunt, amateurish script, the Case Against Sully is little more than paranoid projection, a right-wing bogeyman straight out of Breitbart.

  • Returning time and again to the crash, “Sully” recreates each unnerving moment. Viewed alongside documentary footage and stills of the rescue that play over the credits, the movie drags the awe surrounding the crash back to the real world.

  • Renowned (and just as frequently criticized) for his unfussy form, Eastwood filmed the majority of Sully in full IMAX, with an aspect ratio close to classic Academy 1.33, enhancing (deliberately or not) the feel of an old-school, almost Hawksian ode to calm professionalism that could even, if you squint right, double as a mission statement for Eastwood’s own career.

  • [Eastwood's films are] profoundly, sometimes uncomfortably, American testaments. By contrast, there’s no tragedy in “Sully,” just sighs of relief, probing questions and an outwardly uncomplicated hero whose extraordinariness is so deeply imbued that it is finally the most ordinary thing about him. You might think that Mr. Eastwood had mellowed, but the very singularity of this movie’s hero suggests otherwise.

  • At no point does Eastwood apply the heavy hand that characterized some of his other late-period prestige efforts. Maybe it's the amount of reverence he has for his subject, and just maybe it's a testament to Hanks's continuing dignity as a performer, but somehow even framing the entire film around the simultaneous persecution and deification of a true everyman caught in an extraordinary circumstance doesn't result in cantankerousness.

  • The backward looks are few and far between, and they’re too skimpy to add up to a vibrant portrait. But two-thirds of Sully is a crowd-pleaser that doesn’t insult our intelligence on the few occasions when it is required. The badinage between pilot and copilot sounds lively and feels authentic, and it’s often right out of the book, like the moment when Skiles tells Sully he Googled him and found the website for his safety consulting business.

  • The film is restrained but passionate, purposely incorporating strong emotions without losing its cool. Eastwood’s precise, unhurried style observes the crash, or more properly the landing, and takes its time with the climax, in which Sully begs his bosses to “make it human”. Sully often threatens to become banal, in the lame way of made-for-TV movies, but every time something saves it, even if it’s only Eastwood’s reticence in the face of melodrama.

  • A fierce, stark, haunted, and bitterly political film, one that’s full of surprises and even shocks. In telling the story of a figure canonized in the mediascape as an unsullied and shining hero, Eastwood looks past the media representation to seek the essence of heroism, shattering the shining heroic veneer and restoring its tragic nature through the looming terror of death.

  • Sully is the central (and most compelling) figure in this plainspoken and disarmingly delicate conception of heroics, which might be Eastwood’s best work since Million Dollar Baby. Framing Sully and Skiles’ back-and-forths with stuffed-shirt officials and gawking strangers in his classically dramatic style, Eastwood is always on the verge of making a blunt point, but never does.

  • The film ends on a joke and collective laughter. This is a far cry from the mesmerizing image of isolation found early in the film of Sully shrouded in a blanket of steam. Such a transition reinforces Eastwood’s calm, brilliant dismantling of the Great Man Theory using the great man himself. History doesn’t happen in vacuum, and Sully understands that best: “We all did it. We all survived.”

  • That it doesn't feel like Sully should have been any longer [than it is] is perhaps revealing of this material being a little more dry, this hero a little more bland, his conflicts less complex than in the example set by Sniper. And yet the movie is more than worth seeing: Even as the media and Eastwood himself continue to pigeonhole the director as a right-wing nut with clouded, confused ideas, there is in Sully a purposefully conflicted reckoning with the very tenets of American heroism.

  • Sully needs more than anything to know that he did his job—anything beyond that would be anticlimax. It’s not a particularly warm and fuzzy concept, that man should be defined by professional functionality above all else, but it is one that’s put across here with clarity of vision and considerable emotion. It is a professional’s tribute to professionalism, and as with any job well done, there’s love in it.

  • ...Clint Eastwood, whose new film Sully dramatizes the event, is no stranger to iconic imagery and the afflicted American consciousness, and as such knows that no story is that simple. Sully, then, refuses the easy sentimentality that would seem requisite of the project, in favor of a work of precise introspection and analytic rhythms.

  • Call me biased, but now nearly every mainstream movie I see seems indebted to storytelling strategies consolidated in the 1940s. Take Sully. In less than 90 minutes, it runs through a wide range of narrative techniques. The fact that we take them so completely for granted, and understand them so swiftly, indicates the stability of what we call a Hollywood movie. It’s kind of miraculous that filmmakers continue to find ingenious ways to fulfill norms that were locked into place seventy years ago.

  • Regrettable as Clint Eastwood’s recent “pussy generation” comments were, they have the same relevance to his movies that George W. Bush’s watercolors have to his presidency. The fact remains that his body of work as a director, Sully included, represents one of the most searching examinations of our democratic values in the American cinema... Deftly managing taut spectacle, procedural detail, and deep feeling, this is the rare picture that threatens to give Oscar-bait a good name.

  • Eastwood’s man-at-work tale is one of the most terse and convincing of his late late works.

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