Sully: Miracle on the Hudson and the adventures of a legendary director

Let us remember Clint Eastwood as the quintessential American cowboy in the 1970 famous spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Leone.

August 2019

We can also remember him in the 70’s as Dirty Harry – the antihero and controversial cop who also hit the big screen around the end of the 1980’s. We can also remember him as director of several western films such as Pale Rider (1985) and the magnificent Unforgiven (1992) – which earned him top honors at the Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture.

At 89 years of age, Clint Eastwood has become one of the most important filmmakers in Hollywood. His movies are considered the standard of great filmmaking; always awaited by fans with excitement and well received by critics. His last films have concentrated in specific themes that we can assume are personal to him; the fall of the American dream and aging – which can also be seen as the depreciation of American ingenuity and heroism and its relation (not in all of his films) towards themes of ageing as not just physical age, but the earned wisdom that comes with ageing; specially in a modern world.

This month, on Cinemax, viewers can enjoy Sully: Miracle on the Hudson (2016), a film in which Eastwood directs and places the great Tom Hanks as Chelsey “Sully Sullenberg”, a commercial airline pilot who saves the lives of 155 passengers as he is forced to do an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York City.

Sully: Miracle on the Hudson (2016) explores the themes of experience and wisdom and how it is projected towards the modern world, the 24-hour media world, and technology as the arbitrary of what is deemed right or wrong. The veteran director returns to themes he has explored in the past with The Mule (2018) and Gran Torino (2008).

On January 15th 2009, a US Airways Airbus A320 plane that was led by Sullenberg hit a flock of Canadian geese which caused engine failure on the plane. According to Sully, the plane could not make it to the closest airport for landing and therefore made the critical decision of landing on the Hudson River. The evacuation of the Airbus plane was made without a single loss of life and Sullenberg became a national hero overnight.

Due to the tragic event, Sullenberg began to suffer from post traumatic stress and was summoned to an FAA regulatory panel which questioned his decision to have a water landing vs. a terrestrial landing at a near airport.

This is where the conflict arises between human and machine led choices – such as flight simulations – and the wisdom of an experienced pilot of 40 plus years. All of these conflicts and challenges took Sully, once a hero and now an accused person, through a national trial and therefore an ambush of the national press and media.

Eastwood’s themes are clearly displayed for the viewer. Who is the hero? How do we treat our heroes and our elders? How do we challenge technology and human experience? Is the national press fair to people? Is it fair to judge without the facts?

Sully: Miracle on the Hudson is a legal drama that opens the viewer’s mind to question and it challenges our understanding of dignity and fighting for what’s really important – which is the support of a career that is reflected through hard work and years of experience.

Sully: Miracle on the Hudson, one of the many adventures directed by the great Clint Eastwood – considered one of the most accomplished filmmakers in Hollywood, will be seen, this month, on Cinemax.