Sunday, September 11, 2016


Clint Eastwood’s enigmatic political persona notwithstanding, the Oscar-winning director knows how to tell a tale about people caught up in extraordinary events, rising to the challenges they are facing and overcoming them with ingenuity and grace. Such is the story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the veteran U. S. Airways pilot who landed his immobilized passenger jet in the Hudson River after taking off from LaGuardia. The picture stars Tom Hanks as Sully and Aaron Eckhart as first officer Jeff Skiles, who chose to ditch the plane in the river rather than try to return to the airport. That call, though it resulted in no loss of life, drew an NTSB inquiry that threatened to tarnish Sully’s previously sterling 40-year record and deprive him of his pension. Though he is visited by moments of self-doubt, Sully is ultimately resolute in his defense of his actions before the imperious board. It’s a small film with a contained story but Eastwood masterfully stages the harrowing crash and its aftermath. It’s both a celebration of the individual and the spirit of unity that often follows crises.

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