My new iPad purchase came with a free year of Apple TV+, which meant I was able to catch the new Tom Hanks movie, Greyhound, last night. I’d heard good things, and I’m a sucker for a good submarine movie, so I was looking forward to the experience. Overall, the movie didn’t disappoint. Was it incredible? No. But it delivered a well crafted war movie, and it had an actual rare depiction of a person’s faith as a positive thing, and that earns some brownie points in my book as well. I gave it a 7.5/10.
The film’s premise is very straightforward: Hanks plays the captain of a destroyer, out to protect a group of transport ships from German U-boats as they cross the Atlantic. Surprise surprise: the U-boats actually materialize and are dangerous. It’s up to Hanks to keep it together long enough to protect the ships and get to the other side of the Atlantic.
As far as pacing goes, it was quite thrilling. I really appreciated the way they depicted the strict chain of communication that was in place to keep everything orderly. Coordinating all the different mechanisms that had to be in place in order to keep the pressure on the U-boats (and keep themselves out of danger) was a real dance number, and this movie did a great job of illustrating that. It’s cut together well, so you pretty much always know where the ships are, who’s in danger, and what needs to happen to escape it. That’s not always easy to do, especially when there’s so much chaos happening on the screen.
As I said before, the film also depicts Hanks as a religious man. Better yet (in my book), his religion is a strength, not a weakness. Too often today, religion seems to be a thing people tolerate in a person, as opposed to something to admire someone for. I understand a large reason for that is due to the people who use their religion to justify terrible actions, and I get that many terrible things have been done in the name of religion over the years. Ideally, religion gets us to be better people. (Though the real difficulty comes when you begin to demand a definition of “better.”) I know that personally, my religion gives me strength and guidance in troubled times, and it inspires me to care more for those who are helpless and in need. I don’t want this review to turn into a huge debate about the merits of religion, however. I just want to praise the film for depicting the captain as religious, but not crazy. That really does happen in the real world, people.
The film’s biggest flaw is its brevity, not something I say too often about an action movie. But in this one, they pay a little bit of attention to fleshing out the captain’s back story, and then they dive right into the action. Hints of characterization are provided here and there, but I think it would have been more powerful if we’d had a bit more time to get invested in the characters. Including the captain. As it is, the movie’s just a minute over an hour and a half. They definitely had time available to do a bit more justice to the characters, and that would have made it all more compelling.
But in the end, it’s still what I wanted to get out of a war movie. Thrilling chases. Tense moments. Explosions. Action. Is it worth the price of an AppleTV+ subscription? Sure, for a month or two at least. I still have to see if there are other shows on there that keep me coming back, though. For now, if you’re interested in the movie, go ahead and subscribe for a month and see how you like the rest of the stuff. You’d have paid more than that to see it in the theater, after all. (Though I was watching on my big projector screen. I might feel differently if I’d experienced it on a smaller scale.)
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