Never get on any form of mechanised transport with Tom Hanks. He nearly died after the Apollo 13 Mission suffered catastrophic failures. Nearly died after the FedEx plane he was travelling on crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Nearly died after captaining a cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates. And most recently, nearly died alongside 155 passengers after landing a jet on the Hudson river. The man is a walking disaster-magnet.
You know the story of Sully. On 15 Jan 2009, flight 1549 left New York. Shortly after take off both engines failed following multiple bird strikes. Devoid of power and unable to make it back to an airport, Captain Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) made the unprecedented decision to land on the Hudson River, heroically saving all onboard against inconceivable odds. A classic case of truth being stranger than fiction.
So why recount a story we know so well? Firstly, it makes for great cinema. Hollywood loves an airline disaster – few things are quite as terrifying on the big screen as the screams of passengers mixed with the screams of failing jet engines. In a previous life The Sloth used to book movies for airlines and it never ceased to amaze us how many feature plane crashes / vomit-imducing turbulence / nutters running amok onboard and threatening to blow everyone up / unlucky punters getting sucked out of windows. True to form, watching Sully’s plane slowly descend to the soundtrack of an automated cockpit warning system barking ‘Terrain! Pull up! Pull up!’ is almost unbearable.
Secondly, what you may not know was Sully had to fight to prove his hero status. Sully the movie mostly focuses on the long and drawn out investigation that followed the crash, where he and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) were hauled over the coals by a panel of aviation experts. It’s a fascinating story, as much due to the doubt around his decision to land on the river – computer simulations suggested it may not have been necessary. Coupled with a brisk run time and a reliably solid performance from Mr Disaster himself (plus Eckhart sporting a rather fab 70’s trucker ‘tache), if you want to scare yourself reasonably silly it’s a good bet. Just avoid if you’re planning to jet off on hols anytime soon…