Clint Eastwood‘s Sully (Warner Bros., 9.9), which I caught this morning at 10 am, reminded me once again of that Billy Wilder remark about how vitally important story structure is, and how it’s the toughest thing in the world to get right. Sully‘s structure really works. It delivers the “Miracle on the Hudson” saga, drawn from Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow’s 2010 book “Highest Duty”, in a grabby, hopscotchy, time-shifting way. It depicts, as if you didn’t know, Flight 1549, which ended very quickly after Sullenberger and his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles landed a smallish US Airways jet on the Hudson due to both engines dying after hitting a flock of birds. The whole episode began and ended within 208 seconds. Sully’s decision to go for a water landing resulted in the saving of 155 lives (i.e., passengers plus crew). The film is tight and efficient (only 96 minutes) and a highly skillful emotional button-pusher. The applause at the Palm theatre was heartfelt and prolonged. And Clint and Hanks showed up for a q & a along with costars Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney. Tom Hanks seems assured of a Best Actor nomination — everyone seems to be of that opinion. But I’m outta here — have to catch a 7:45 pm screening of Arrival.
(l. to r.) Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks and moderator Rebecca Kegan following this morning’s Telluride screening of Sully.