Sully

C

I was in no particular hurry to see Sully, but I had heard some good things about it and it is a great story so I definitely wanted to see it eventually. The movie got pretty good reviews, but I think reviewers may have conflated the amazing story of the Miracle on the Hudson with a movie that twisted that story for dramatic effect and was still kind of boring. One thing I did not like was the liberties taken with the NTSB's review of the crash. In the movie, the NTSB immediately starts to act like the flight could have returned to the airport rather than risk everyone's lives by landing in the icy Hudson River. While of course an investigation began immediately (in the movie even the air traffic controller was isolated so he could be tested for drugs and had no idea about the outcome until someone remembered to go tell him). Part of that investigation would be some unpleasant questions about mental competence, drug use, drinking, home life, etc. So while a person being investigated may feel like they are being accused, it is just part of an investigation. Where the movie went off the rails was how the NTSB had computer simulations and data saying pilot error was involved and this was their initial conclusion. The article on Wikipedia supports none of that. There may have been a lot of missing data (including a missing engine that fell off of the plane during the crash landing) which opened everything to speculation, but I am not sure that Sully was confronted with any of this as portrayed in the movie. In the movie he is eventually absolved and praised by the NTSB, which you know going in. So basically the movie just shows this false conflict, his wife barely holding it together, and Sully questioning himself even though he is pretty confident he did the right thing. I feel like it was a missed opportunity, but maybe there just isn't a good movie here. Maybe a pilot doing his job in adversity and pulling off a great landing on water, with lightning fast reactions on the river, and everyone rescued in 26 minutes just can't be stretched into a 90 minute movie. I think a documentary, even with re-enactments, would have worked better. While the air traffic controllers were shown, they were really of no use. The rescuers were shown a little and they reacted quickly and effectively. A few of the passengers were shown, but they were basically filler. The story is about the two pilots, and really just Sully. So that is a challenge for a movie and I don't think the concept works well here. Still, if you want to see the story dramatized, you can't go wrong seeing the movie. It at least gives you a good jumping off point to do some of your own research and see where the movie bent the truth. I can't give the movie much more than a C despite the story itself being an A.