Sully - the Miracle on the Hudson River | Sunday Observer

Sully - the Miracle on the Hudson River

2 October, 2022

The movie, ‘Sully’, is unarguably a white-knuckled depiction that pins the 2009 Miracle on the Hudson, initially criticized but later celebrated emergency water landing made by the US Airways flight No. 1549.

On a certain day in January 2009, the pilots Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles were in the cockpit of the Airbus A 320 from the LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Charlottle and Seattle in the USA. The flight struck a flock of Canadian geese shortly after the take off. Unable to reach at any nearby airport for an emergency landing due to their low altitude Sullenberger and Skiles ditched the flight in New York City’s Hudson River.

Capt. Sullenberger pulled off the impossible under intense pressure, but it is perhaps not either with a sense of duress or coercion. The captain is a cool-headed veteran whose conscious reasoning allowed all 155 passengers and crew on board his aircraft to come out alive.

If there is one Hollywood star you could still trust to crash-land a commercial airliner without injuring just a single soul on board, it would invariably be Tom Hanks. Hanks repeatedly reminds his audience as to why he continues to be the finest personification of the all-American Everyman since James Stewart’s ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’.

I may say that the movie ‘Sully’ can also be a show of its title actor Hanks; it delivers a typically outstanding performance that forces its audience to forget the fact that they are just watching an actor whose white hair and moustache match the type of the act that is played. Hanks reflects on a man who is confident in his abilities, yet captivatingly maintaining a down to earth stance on his actions, which brought him onto the stardom.

Most interestingly, both Capt. Sullenberger and actor Hanks display a true sense of courage and intensity in such a phenomenal way. ‘Sully’ is a typical role for the Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks. He nails it in the best way possible. Hanks apparently thrives in the roles assigned to him that demand factual historical commitment and, in that context, ‘Sully’ is one of the classic examples that justifies the fact declared.

Capt. Sullenberger became an iconic hero and received the celebrity level recognition, I am certain for fact that the charismatic professional pilot living within him had many other high points of utter significance that never came off the carpet; his bank of experience within the domain of aviation spans into more than four decades that he seemed to have predominantly kept at bay perhaps due to personal reasons, never declared.

Legendary film director

I am particularly obsessed by the legendary film director Clint Eastwood who at 86 masterminded the finest and most unshowy features of ‘Sully’ that remains a moving testament to both Eastwood’s ever acclaimed direction and Hanks’s acting.

I personally believe that both Hanks and Eastwood are the lynch-pin of a first-rate ensemble which include one of my favourites Aaron Eckhart at his ever best as the Co-pilot as well as charming Laura Linney as the wife of Capt. Sullenberger.

Ever since I heard of Clint Eastwood, I developed a strong intensity in his films. I am also of the view that Clint Eastwood might be one of the last classical directors still working in Hollywood. As far as I may understand, nothing ostentatious remains in his films, Eastwood’s films are generally about confident, strong and almost unloquacious men capable of almost superhuman displays of courage, bravery and strength; ‘Sully’ in that light is not an exception.

Meanwhile, I am reminded of Tom Hanks, perhaps a master of disguise who was said to have donned white shirt, a crisp blazer and a black and white tie while filming the titular character in ‘Sully’. However, I would rush to say that a pilot’s wardrobe is only one part of the transformation. Anyhow, I would never argue on Hanks’s flawless record of accomplishment as an unassuming actor who has a knack of taking his audience spellbound. Tom Hanks assuredly brings on a brawny and durable discharge that settles you on the fringe of the theatre from the very beginning. Hanks resembles a pilot encapsulated in the cockpit.


I hardly find a metaphor as acceptable as Hanks to recapitulate red, white and blue worth and morals that can add delight and pride in a job well done; doing your duty no matter the cost and intestinal fortitude with the true sense of utter selflessness in the face of a catastrophe without being a goody-goody bore.

In contrast, a concerned moviegoer may argue that ‘Sully’ provides an opportunity for its then 86-year-old director Eastwood to stage a kind of a variation of the Western style shootouts that are unique to some Hollywood movies.

But, on the other hand, notably putting emphasis on its sensitive human factor, a critic would predominantly point out that instead of rival cowboys with six guns a blasting, the story in ‘Sully’ depicts a true hero whose lightning quick decisions taken in the air at an extremely critical and decisive point saved every soul on board an ill-fated flight; the sheer thought of that might contradict the fact that the pilot would have considered landing in a nearby airport - a possibility he instantly appraised, as told by a cross section in the field of aviation was not feasible, given his experience of four decades.

Not only the element of entertainment, but also this particular reenactment of what happened exactly is an eye opener to what Capt. Sullenberger faced that fateful day. Not only did he save all souls on board, but also, he had to defend his decisions taken on that crucial day.