I’m kind of in the bag for Sully. I haven't liked a Clint Eastwood film in some time - heck, I haven't even SEEN a Clint Eastwood film in some time - but for whatever reason, I'm usually pulling for the old coot. The idea of him collaborating with Tom Hanks is enough to pique my interest.
More importantly, I remember when Captain C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger landed US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River back on January 15, 2009 after a bird strike knocked out the plane’s engines. As was the style at the time, a few of us were mouthing off about it on a movie message board. For whatever reason, I’ll never forget this exchange, in which a couple folks on that board went right to cynical eye-rolling over the invocation of the word “miracle”:
I like how people are saying this is a miracle. It's not like the pilot DID HIS JOB or anything...
The pilot did a great job, insofar as that is exactly why he's in the cockpit. He is supposed to be able to handle misadventures as they arise.
Some back and forth ensued, and a lovely gent who was actually a commercial pilot shut down the above sentiment with this line:
I really don't think you understand the difficulty of what he did and its low chances for success. The last time someone tried to ditch an airplane, it cartwheeled and everyone died.
That quote’s always stuck with me. What Sully pulled off – a successful water landing of a disabled commercial airline, with no fatalities - was virtually unheard of, and I get choked up even now thinking of the pilot’s calm voice on flight recorder. “We can't do it...we’re gonna be in the Hudson.” Man.
So yeah, I think this story is pretty special. Yes, my confidence in Clint Eastwood isn’t what it once was, and yes, the drama on display in the trailer looks a little amplified: Did Sully do the right thing? Could that plane have landed safely on a runway? I...kind of don't care? Lately every morning greets us with mounting evidence that the human race is just a terrible nightmare mishap of evolution, and movies that claim “men are still good” offer little evidence to back up their sentiment. So I’m down for this potentially middling, possibly saccharine story about one real human who did this one legitimately good thing in our lifetime.