‘Sully’ Takes Off To New Heights


Brendan Fredericks, Staff Writer

The biopic following Miracle on the Hudson pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, captivates audiences with a moving story of the struggle between technicality and morality.

On January 15th, 2009, Captain Chesley Sullenberger gained status as a true American hero after successfully landing US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River after a flock of birds damaged the plane’s engines, managing to save the lives of all 155 on board. Sullenberger described his thoughts on his newly-gained celebrity status and the investigation on the Hudson landing’s true nature in a book. Seven years later, now said book has been adapted into a movie.

Sully was directed by Clint Eastwood, director of other such classics as Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, Invictus, and American Sniper. Clint Eastwood’s career has evolved from influential Western actor most known for his roles as The Man with No Name in A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and the titular character in the Dirty Harry series to dramatic film producer and director. His direction in this movie was stellar and does a wonderful job at showing the mindset of the characters and helping to create a smooth, flowing story, even when the events weren’t necessarily shown chronologically.

Sully takes place in the days following The Miracle on the Hudson, showing the event through flashbacks. The audience is given a clear view of Sullenberger’s character and motives and his fears of what could’ve happened along with what could still happen. The internal struggle of Sullenberger is portrayed beautifully by Tom Hanks, successfully showing the face of a humble yet hardened-by-experience man scared for his family’s well-being; it is not difficult to feel sympathetic for Sullenberger. It is very difficult to make a character such as Sullenberger – that is, an iconic national hero – appear so relatable to the audience, and Sully succeeded.

I highly recommend viewing the movie and reading the book adapted into it, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by Captain Chesley Sullenberger.