By Reginald Tauscher
“Sully” opens with Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger having a nightmare of a plane crash, with the excitement only building from there.
Sully is portrayed by Tom Hanks, alongside other actors including Aaron Eckhart, who plays journalist Jeffrey Zaslow, both of whom have stunning performances.
“Sully,” directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, is an extraordinary movie that will have viewers hooked from the start.
“Sully’s” first week opened with a $35.5 million according to Forbes.com, and has continued to receive lots of praise from movie critics.
The movie is about the event of U.S. Airways flight 1549, which was en route to Charlotte, N.C. before it landed in the Hudson River on Jan. 20, 2009 after encountering a bird strike during takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. All passengers survived the crash and were accounted for.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the left engine was still running at idle during the first interview, and that the plane would have been able to land at LaGuardia Airport or Teterboro Airport, rather than the Hudson. The computer simulator also showed multiple scenarios in which the plane could have flown back to the airport.
Sully and Zaslow knew this was not true, sure that both engines were down after the bird strike.
Sully realized the NTSB was trying to end his career of 42 years by saying it was pilot error that brought the plane down instead of mechanical error.
He did not have enough speed, altitude and time to fly Flight 1549 back to the airport safely, he explains in the movie. He believed landing the plane in the Hudson was the best and safest choice. If the plane was to fly back to the airport, he believed it could have ended with all 155 lives lost.
In parts of the movie, Sully has nightmares and flashbacks of the crash and the media lashing out on him.
Sulenberger’s wife Lorraine, who is played by Laura Linney, offers moral support throughout the film, while also keying him in to the constant media coverage going on back at home.
The ending of the movie acknowledges the actual Pilot Sully and the passengers of Flight 1549. They all gather in front of the plane at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, N.C. The movie concludes with the fact that the passengers have all stayed in touch and keep in contact with Sully and Lorraine.