THE MOVIE GUY — Peak Tom Hanks sails in ‘Greyhound’
Directed by Aaron Schneider
Starring Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan and Elisabeth Shue
Tom Hanks has had great success bringing World War II characters to life, so it’s no surprise to find him once again playing a soldier from the Greatest Generation in his latest movie, Greyhound.
Adapted from C.S. Forester’s 1955 novel, The Good Shepherd, this is the story of Naval Commander George Krause, the skipper of a light destroyer who is tasked with escorting dozens of US troop carriers across the Atlantic Ocean. This is the captain’s first mission, and he’s sailing his ship, the Greyhound, into treacherous waters patrolled by German U-Boats.
There’s not a lot more to the story other than watching the crew of the Greyhound desperately trying to survive torpedoes and gunfire long enough to reach aircraft cover for their mission. As you might guess, that means this movie is pretty much one non-stop action set piece after another.
To their credit, the filmmakers have done a superb job resurrecting an old battleship and plopping it down, smack-dab in the middle of a lethal navel battle. The film only runs an hour and a half, but it’s all action sequences except for two very quick moments at the beginning.
It’s a nearly exhausting adventure that will thrill World War II buffs, as well as those who enjoy Tom Hanks movies.
Is there anybody out there who doesn’t like Tom Hanks movies?
The film’s only real problem is that we don’t get to know anybody other than Captain Krause. A few sailors make a fleeting impression, and Elisabeth Shue signs on for a one-scene appearance, but there’s no reason given to care about these cardboard characters. It would have been nice to flesh out the story with some background moments, but I suppose that it’s not a huge problem when you have Hanks at the helm of your movie.
He’s playing a character who is so undeniably good, even if he’s inexperienced, that the audience will have no doubt that he’ll sail victoriously on though the battle. I appreciated that the filmmakers even took a moment to show the captain praying at his bedside just to make sure the audience knows that God was watching over this impossible mission.
The bottom line for most audiences is that Greyhound delivers Tom Hanks at peak Tom Hanks-ness. He’s playing another all-American hero in a desperate fight, surrounded by hyper-realistic battle scenes that will set your pulse racing. The film is a little too shallow for my tastes, but sometimes a good old-fashioned, black-and-white war adventure is a perfect reason to plop the family down in front of the TV.
At least Apple+ hopes that it’s appealing enough for you to sign up for their streaming service.
Greyhound is streaming exclusively on Apple+ TV starting today (June 10).
Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week in Port Arthur Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.