This movie is based on a real life incident where an aircraft carrying 155 passengers had to be downed in the Hudson river at New York because both engines had failed due to colliding with birds (Canadian geese). As all passengers were evacuated safely, the pilot Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger became a hero- albeit a momentary one. He was cheered wherever he went.
But the movie says that personally the immediate aftermath of the incident was not great for him. According to the movie there was an investigation into the whole episode instigated by insurance companies who frankly did not want to pay the huge amount of money that the plane had been insured for. They tried to prove (or so says the movie) that the forced landing into the Hudson river was due to ‘human error’-that is, the pilots were the ones who made the mistake. That they could have landed at nearby airports but it was their ‘human error’ to have not done so.
The movie however shows another immediate aftermath of the episode on Captain Sully (played by Tom Hanks) -he suffers post traumatic stress disorder, where he has dreams of him not being able to dive safely towards the river but crashing into nearby buildings. This would have been a repeat of 9/11 if this happened and indeed was a very real possibility.
The highlight of the movie is the landing in the Hudson river by the aircraft, which has been filmed well by the moviemakers. It is shown repeatedly in the movie as it is the central event of the film. Also the movie shows the passengers and crew being evacuated by craft moving on the river but not before some of them are forced to land in the freezing cold water and have to undergo a distressful time.
Captain Sully asks for pilots to simulate the incident in real time on simulators and shown to the public investigating committee on screen by data link. This is because if he is shown to be guilty of human error then he will be forced to give up flying. So what happens in the public investigation? Is it Sully and his co pilot’s mistake or was the incident unavoidable? Watch the movie for the answers.
The main problem before the movie makers must have been the fact that they were basing the film on a real life incident and could not bring other dramatic twists to it as it would have compromised the truthfulness of the film. Is that why the landing on the Hudson is shown again because there is no other drama really to be shown? Possibly. Is the investigation into the crash perhaps over dramatised to add drama to the movie? Can’t say, but that is possible too. It is a movie after all.
Acting wise everyone is perfect. Tom Hanks is shown with his hair completely white, just like that of the actual pilot. Photography is good, especially of the landing- another reason to show the landing again? But the lack of other drama does hamper the pace of the film and I was not impressed by the first half of the film. Only in the second half does the film pick up pace and in the end you come out with the impression of a very decent effort.