Friday, 18 November 2016


208 seconds of prime, Grade A, choice cut American heroism, served up over roughly 90 minutes of cinema. Clint Eastwood has long been renowned for the economy of his style and the brevity of his filming process, though the methods were rarely so evident in the results as they are in Sully. Brief and unambitious, the film is a solid testament to the dignified, redoubtable honour of a job well done, to the individual people whose sense of duty and responsibility turned a potential tragedy on its head. It's a workingman's pursuit, a workingman's fable, and, in Eastwood's well-worked hands, a workingman's very work putting this on the screen. And his skill is matched, if not surpassed, by that of his fellow crew members - Sully is a handsome piece of craftsmanship, with exemplary sound design and editing. But whereas once Eastwood sprung first to mind when evaluating a workingman's worth as an artist, here his economy, indeed his modesty as a director seems calibrated to sidle him down the list. It's an intriguing step backward, either as a noble sign of deference to the real heroes, those portrayed on screen, or as a deflating sign of laziness on his part. For all the competence on display, there's rather little excellence, and even rather little evidence that such excellence was ever a concern. Sully simply works its way through its assemblage of scenes, gaining no momentum, eventually resolving with an increasing sensation of over-egged heroism; Eastwood is always loathe to put his points across too bluntly, but the sickly 'rah-rah America' tone that begins to emerge late on here verges on loathsome to this viewer. Not quite a heroic accomplishment, then, but a safe, stable landing nonetheless.