Monday, July 6, 2020

Greyhound Review: Tom Hanks Scores A Direct Hit With This World War II Naval Adventure

Release date: July 10, 2020
Running time: 91 minutes
Starring: Tom Hanks, Elisabeth Shue, Karl Glusman, Stephen Graham

Tom Hanks stars as Commander Ernest Krause, a longtime Navy veteran who, as a first-time captain, is tasked with protecting a convoy of 37 ships carrying thousands of soldiers and much-needed supplies across the Atlantic during World War II.  For five days with no air cover, the Greyhound and three escort ships must make their way through an area of the ocean known as “the Black Pit,” battling Nazi U-boats while protecting their invaluable ships and soldiers. Although not a strictly true story, “Greyhound" is inspired by events during the Battle of the Atlantic, which took place in the earliest months of America’s alliance with Great Britain and the Allied Forces. 

The main draw of this film is Tom Hanks and, as usual, he does not disappoint.  He is convincing as a Naval captain on his first voyage, providing a strong, confident exterior and uncertainty to his close confidants.  His demeanor is calm when it needs to be and his character, while strong, gets visibly exhausted during the long ordeal.  He also doesn't break his religious character, praying before ever meal despite the chaos going on around him.  There are a ton of little touches that Hanks does so well that make him a convincing captain, and he is the main draw of this film.  The rest of the cast are likewise good, but just play second fiddle to Hanks.  It was good to see Elisabeth Shue in a movie again, despite her limited screen time.  And Stephen Graham as Krause's second in command was another convincing naval addition.  The rest of the crew do a great job, they just do not get as much screen time as Hanks.  

Much of the film takes place on the destroyer that Hanks is captaining, and the sets are convincingly done.  The destroyer is perfectly recreated, despite you only visiting a few lcoations on it.  Much of the film takes place on the ship's bridge, with a few scenes in the cabin and a couple other locations.  Normally, this might make for a less than interesting film, but Hank's performance is enough to keep everything moving along.  The CG is generally very good, with convincing naval battles and heart stopping moments.  It looks a little off at first, with the ships not moving as well as I had expected and looking more drab than anticipated, but that goes away once you are firmly on the Greyhound.  And along with the CG, the sound is stellar, with the chaos of combat and of the ocean filling your ears.  This movie is a visual and auditory treat!  And another thing I absolutely loved was the attention to detail in the combat. A lot of the minutia of naval battles, such as calculating trajectory, changing speeds to avoid enemies, and waiting for sonar pings, were perfectly recreated in this movie.  And although other films might have removed those to keep the film exciting, i really loved this attention to detail.  The one negative is that the film is simply inspired by actual events, which makes you wonder how many creative liberties were taken.  I would have much rather seen the story of a real life captain and his crew defending ships, rather than a fictionalized retelling.  It made me question whether some of the scenes were real or just put in there for emotional purposes.  However, if you can get past this you will enjoy a heart pounding naval hunt. 

Greyhound scores a direct hit with Tom Hanks's stellar performance, heart stopping naval action, convincing CG, and explosive sound.

Watch it.

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