Rated PG-13, 96 minutes
The modest, compelling new drama "Sully" from director Clint Eastwood and starring Oscar-winner Tom Hanks as the famed pilot who miraculously landed a plane in the Hudson River with no casualties is as low-key yet self-assured as its lead subject. On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in New York's Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. Despite the accolades, the famed pilot now faces an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation. Written by Todd Komarnicki and based on Sullenberger's autobiography "Highest Duty" with Jeffrey Zaslow, "Sully" is a well-acted, slow-moving but stirring look at the incident that made headlines nearly 8 years ago. Eastwood seems well-suited for the material in his workmanlike approach to the story not to mention its understated tone, and though the film bears Sullenberger's name, it's more about the incident itself, with the memorable, powerful recreation of the accident the film's chief highlight at about a half-hour in. Interestingly, "Sully" is less successful when it only skims the surface of his life, giving little insight as to why he did what he did during one of the defining moments of his life. Hanks, in a strong performance, is as likable as ever in snowy white hair and mustache, with nice supporting turns from Aaron Eckhart as his co-pilot Jeff Skiles, who has the movie's best line: "I would've landed it in July," along with "Breaking Bad's" Anna Gunn and comedian Mike O'Malley as stern NTSB investigators, but I wish the script could've given better interaction between Hanks and Laura Linney as his wife besides their extended, slightly overbearing phone conversations. There's nothing wrong about what Captain Sullenberger did that day, but it's ultimately more remarkable than the well-acted but otherwise staid "Sully," a surface-level treatment of an unforgettable event.