Sully: The Tale of a Hero’s Survival

Katie Hood, Layout Editor

Heroes are seen as nearly indestructible in today’s society, especially in the movies. They are seen as a comic book character, strong, confident, possessing the tools needed to succeed, and accepting of their role as a hero.

Sully tells an entirely different story; one of a man who did the best he could with what he had, who he had. He did what he believed any experienced pilot would have done in his situation, all while facing the doubts of the airline investigators. In fact, the movie delves mostly into the aftermath of that fateful landing on the Hudson: the airline’s investigation, and Captain Sullenberger’s own doubts as his career is put on the line.

It was more than an artistically rendered glory shot, as it humanized the actions of a pilot who had logged nearly 20,000 hours of flying time over the course of 40 years. Tom Hanks included the tics of the real-life Captain Sullenberger into the movie, including the PTSD based twitch the captain acquired in his right thumb after having to hover it over the throttle on January 15, 2009, as he decided whether to turn back towards an airport with a plane that had lost both engines due to an onslaught of flying geese seconds after take off.

One major thing that Hanks and director Clint Eastwood maintained in their movie portrayal of Sullenberger was his uneasiness on camera, which the world got to see first hand as reporters pestered him about his life and the miracle landing.

Sully could be considered more objective than most of its kind, as Eastwood navigated the film towards more of an observation of all that went down that day and the investigation that followed, as well as all that could have happened, had Sullenberger made a different call.

All in all, the movie was a job well done when it came to showing the reasoning and accuracy of the decisions made that chilly day, and how the aftermath played out when the blinking red lights of the media’s cameras weren’t on.