A lighter hand on the controls might have helped Clint Eastwood’s film about the Miracle on the Hudson, but Nate Parker’s account of a 19th-century slave rebellion is just a macho mess
Clint Eastwood, like Woody Allen, is routinely praised for the near-clockwork regularity of his output: not every film’s a gem, but you can be sure another one’s coming down the pike. Sully: Miracle on the Hudson (Warner, 12), however, is one of those Eastwood films you wish he’d taken a little more time over. There are whispers of a deeper, sadder, more stirring psychological portrait in this study of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the American pilot who successfully landed a plane in the Hudson river after bird-induced engine failure, but they are hard to hear over the more mechanically assembled procedural drama surrounding it.
Tom Hanks, now enjoying his best years as an actor, decades after all that excessive Oscar gilding, lends the film a measure of sorrowful complexity, teasing out the reserved ambiguities in Sullenberger’s response to what was either an act of heroism, recklessness or both. Eastwood, however, never appears quite as interested in such character detailing, returning repeatedly to the scene of the crash – joltingly realised, certainly, but not where the human stakes in this almost-tragedy are to be found.