One miracle, one hundred and fifty-five people saved, and a split-second decision. I give Sully an A.
When birds take out both engines of US Airways Flight 1549, immediate decisions must be made in order to bring the plane down safely. Captain Sullenberger, “Sully’s” choices and the aftermath of those decisions is detailed in this film adaptation of Sully’s autobiography, “Highest Duty.”
Clint Eastwood begins the movie with a bang and does a wonderful job of showing the landing from many different angles as well as from many people’s perspectives, from the NTSB to the ferryboat captains whose quick thinking helped save the trapped passengers.
As Sully, Tom Hanks brings emotion to the role as we see Sully come under fire from the NTSB for the decision to put the plane down on the Hudson rather than making it back to one of the nearby airports. While I am grateful to the federal government for making flying safe, they come off as the bad guys in this movie as they tear apart Sully’s actions. Viewers see the stress brought on, from nightmares to questioning his own abilities.
The NTSB questioned his drinking (he hadn’t had any in 9 days prior) to his relationship with his wife. They wondered if he had low blood sugar. Never once were they grateful for the saving of lives but appeared more concerned about the loss of the plane. According to tests and simulations, they believed that the plane could have made it back safely but only when Sully had them factor in time for making decisions did they see how it really happened and the miracle which occurred.
As a person who grew up with planes and even flew in the military, Sully had many hours of experience which helped with the forced water landing. However, the miracle wasn’t only on Sully’s shoulders. It was the work of everyone involved from the passengers who did what was told, to the ferries in the area and NYPD water rescue to the Red Cross and flight crew. This miracle couldn’t have been possible without all of them. And in light of the previous horrors caused by planes in New York, the Miracle on the Hudson was a redemption moment for New York.
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