There’s something of the classic actor about Tom Hanks. It’s the same something that Cary Grant had. He doesn’t really do anything very good, in an acting sense, but what he does do, everyone likes.
Tom Hanks always plays the same character in his films but, because we really like Tom Hanks, that’s ok, and we love his characters. Even when he’s playing a bad guy, which he’s never really done (Road to Perdition isn’t a bad man. He’s a good man who does bad things), we just appreciate that it’s an aspect of this guy we like.
Kevin Costner literally plays himself, in every film. So does Harrison Ford, and Tom Cruise. They don’t change their voice, their mannerisms or anything. Actually Cruise does a bit, but he’s a proper ham, and could’ve done with staying on the Vanilla Sky route he was on for a while, instead of going back to MI territory. Especially if he wants an Oscar.
Anyhow, in Sully, Hanks is on top Hanks form as Sully himself, successfully saving 155 people by landing his A320 on the Hudson River. He’s a literal everyman, in an astonishing situation, doing the best he can, and bewildered by the consequent fuss. He doesn’t want rewards, doesn’t want to take any credit, and is being put upon by ‘the Man’.
You have to have something adversarial in a film, otherwise there’s no tension, but this was a little forced in the film. It may well be that there was a lot of accident investigation doubt around Sully’s actions, but this was a little clumsy I thought. Maybe I’ll read the book it’s based on. I probably won’t.
I actually thought Hanks phoned this one in a little, although his state of doubt and anguish was pretty well conveyed. The real star of the film, for my money, was Aaron Eckhart’s moustache. It’s glorious. I like Eckhart. He’s made some shit decisions with films over the years, but he’s generally really good in stuff. I’d like to see him as a gangster. He was great in Thank You For Smoking. Watch that, it’s better than Sully, but Sully is nowhere near a mawkish and typical as you’d think.