Are Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood the right duo for movie 'Sully'?

'Sully' stars Tom Hanks as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, a pilot who famously saved the lives of his passengers when his plane encountered trouble. The movie co-stars Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, and Anna Gunn.

Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
Tom Hanks starts in 'Sully' as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, the real-life pilot who safely landed a plane in the middle of the Hudson River.

Tom Hanks stars in the Clint Eastwood-directed film “Sully,” which opens on Sept. 8, and is the newest movie by both to put forward the idea of a normal person in an unusual situation. 

Mr. Hanks stars in "Sully" as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, a pilot who famously saved the lives of those on board his plane after it encountered engine trouble by successfully landing it in the middle of Manhattan's Hudson River.

The film co-stars Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, and Anna Gunn. 

At the time of the release of Hanks' last movie, "Bridge of Spies," Monitor film critic Peter Rainer noted that the actor excels at portraying the average person who must do what is right. "Tom Hanks [is] in his best man-of-the-people mode," Mr. Rainer writes. "[Hanks' character] Donovan is as steadfast as Gary Cooper’s sheriff in 'High Noon.' "

And while he has also played more morally ambiguous characters, Hanks does have a long line of upstanding people on his list of acting credits, including the 2013 movie "Captain Phillips," 1998's "Saving Private Ryan," and 1995's "Apollo 13." 

Meanwhile, some of Mr. Eastwood's projects in the past have focused on real-life Americans in extraordinary situations, including the 2006 movie "Flags of Our Fathers" and the 2014 movie "American Sniper."

Reviews of "Sully" are so far mostly positive, though some reviewers wished for more examination of Sullenberger as a person.

"Eastwood doesn't burrow too deeply into his protagonist's psyche, other than to visibly demonstrate that he's haunted by the landing," Guardian writer Nigel M. Smith writes.

USA Today writer Brian Truitt agrees to an extent, writing, "Some of the main character's backstory … is hinted at too fleetingly, and what's learned of his personal life is gleaned haphazardly," though Mr. Truitt writes, "When Hanks proclaims to bureaucrats, 'We all did it, we all survived,' it's not hard to feel a little proud re-living a moment of mankind being awesome to each other." 

Yet other critics felt simply that the pairing of Hanks and Eastwood is a great one and the story is told well. "It seems almost a foregone conclusion Clint Eastwood would direct and Tom Hanks would star in the movie version of the story," Chicago Sun-Times writer Richard Roeper writes.  "(Can you think of a better starting battery? I can't.)" 

Meanwhile, Robert Abele of TheWrap writes that "actor/role matching has rarely been as ideally suited as Hanks is for Sullenberger" and that Eastwood's " 'Sully' [is] an honest, skillful rumination on what makes a hero."

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.