I was at first reluctant to watch it because i have not much sympathy for Eastwood. That being said, it reminded me of some of Javier Cercas novels, on what we make of heroism and how history is being written. Sully is a character directly coming from Hawks (or Michael Mann if you will) : an american, that is to say a professional, who does his job with care and precision. The rest i call invasive storytelling.
One has to separate the pragmatic professional ethic (correctly pointed out by another reviewer) from the dispatching way with which Eastwood delivers this patriotic film. Hagiographical, with countless stereotypes (Linney's housewife, Eckhart's faithful subordinate, the iron bureaucrats who get to see 'truth'), it is, ironically, Hollywood at its most simulated, lacking authorship even by Eastwood's own criteria.
"Can we get serious now?" Clint Eastwood's ode to professional pragmatism. The unconventional structure works wonderfully here (another way to subvert biopic cliches), and I'm not sure if I've ever enjoyed Tom Hanks more onscreen. What came as a surprise - but in hindsight shouldn't have - is that, in so many ways, "Sully" is really a film about 9/11. Here that collective horror is transfigured into collective hope.
It's a good depiction of what rel life can be and what heroism can turn you into. The acting is very good and the direction takes the most of the actors and of a special story. As I see it there is only one problem with it. There's not enough plot to last for a normal film, and that's why it is rather short and it could be even shorter if some scenes were less explored. But it's good...
Clint Eastwood is all about hovering a lens over the emotional plight of the blue-collar hero in a compelling way. Sully is no exception to these tendencies, and overall it's worth a watch for the fresh perspective of a widely known incident in our recent American media history. I felt the use of extended flashbacks weakened my willingness to be attentive to the present timeline of the story.
I am not a fan of Eastwood's directorial style and I can only endure a certain quota of unsubtle American patriotism. That said, the film was mercifully short, Tom Hanks was great, the procedural aspect was very thin on melodramatic bullshit and the repetition of the accident was actually a great immersing experience. Sully is a solid and highly rewatchable film and I say that about almost none of Eastwood's work.