Monday, July 13, 2020

Greyhound (2020)

Streaming Services: Apple TV+
Movie Name/Year: Greyhound (2020)
Genre: Action, Drama, History
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Stage 6 Films, Bron Creative, Zhengfu Pictures, Sycamore Pictures, FilmNation Entertainment, Playtone, Apple TV+, China Film Group Corporation (CFGC), Sony Pictures Releasing, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Aaron Schneider
Writer: Tom Hanks, C.S. Forester
Actors: Tom Hanks, Elisabeth Shue, Stephen Graham, Matt Helm, Craig Tate, Rob Morgan, Travis Quentin, Jeff Burkes, Matthew Zuk, Joseph Poliquin, Casey Bond, Josh Wiggins, Josh Wiggins, Michael Benz, Grayson Russell, Ian James Corlett, Maximilian Osinski, Dominic Keating, Dave Davis, Tom Brittney, Chet Hanks

Blurb from IMDb: Early in World War II, an inexperienced U.S. Navy captain must lead an Allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolfpacks.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m going to start off by talking about the best part of the film. Tom Hanks (The Post, Saving Mr. Banks, Toy Story) is now, and will always be, a national treasure. He is the best of us and an amazing actor. Watching the Navy playfully rib the Army about Hanks moving to their team was one of the funniest things leading up to the release of Greyhound.

Unfortunately, that’s where I need to pause on the good things for a moment.

The entire thing is in naval jargon. You’re bound to see some of that in any military/war movie. It would pull you out of the story if people weren’t talking like their characters should be in the situations shown. The problem is that the film never diverts from the code so that laymen can have an easier time understanding what’s happening.

It’s hyper-realistic, to a fault.

Greyhound makes you a fly on the wall of a ship crossing the Atlantic during World War II. There’s that instant tension because you know the brutality of that war. There are moments where you hear German transmissions that really make you feel like there are killers stalking the convoy. In almost all ways, this film puts you on the ship. It is heart-pounding and breath-catching.

The thing is, if they had cast anyone but Tom Hanks as the Captain – the movie would have sucked.

Simply put, there were times that I had no fucking clue what was going on. If it wasn’t for Hanks being the level of actor he is, I would have been hopelessly lost. His expression, the tone in his voice, the subtle limping… that’s what portrayed to me the gravity of the situation. I didn’t understand half the script.

I also feel like the miniature love story wasn’t really needed. They could have gotten the same effect by just having the Captain look at a picture from his pocket or something – but even that would have been unnecessary. It felt shoe-horned in and pointless. You don’t need it to sympathize with the main character. His actions during the battle do that.

This is the kind of movie you have to concentrate on. You can’t be looking at your phone or cleaning the house while you’re watching. It’s not made to be background noise. All the nuance is in the way people react to the main character and how he emotes. If you miss something visual, you’re going to have a problem. Unless, of course, you’re military personnel.

I feel like military personnel are the people who are going to get the most out of this. They won’t get lost in the jargon and they’ll still have the benefit of Hank’s performance. If I were going to recommend it to anyone, I’d recommend it to them first.

Cat’s Point of View:
The first thing that comes to mind before I even get into reviewing the movie itself is a funny anecdote. Greyhound is another film on the growing list in the meme-verse as proof of why it’s not safe to travel with Tom Hanks – U-boats, plane crashes, and pirates… oh, my. (I couldn’t help it.)

Back to the movie.

While Hanks is beloved for his comedies, he excels at drama – Greyhound has that in spades. Once the film picks up steam it’s fairly relentless with both tension and action alike. I felt like I’d been awake and battle-harried just as long as the captain by the end of the movie.

While World War II battle movies make me a little maudlin and I force myself to watch them because of my grandfathers’ service. I’m generally not a huge fan of the genre. I tend to start tuning out when military jargon gets tossed around rapid-fire. This film was pretty thick with the nautical military verbiage. If Hanks wasn’t the captivating and charismatic actor that he is, I likely would have zoned right out fairly quickly after that started.

I appreciated the cinematography and effects employed to capture the feel of the battle at sea. The casting was also well done. I bought all of the crew’s performances. It was also a touching moment when I realized that Hanks got to share this movie with one of his sons, Chet Hanks (Project X, Shameless, Empire). I was surprised and excited to see Lee Norris (Zodiac, Gone Girl, A Christmas Wish) on the ‘big screen,’ as well. I haven’t seen him in much since One Tree Hill (2003-2012). I hope this marks the beginning of an uptick in projects for him.

I’m afraid that I don’t have much else to offer for this wartime movie. This genre simply isn’t my preference and it’s hard for me to really ‘enjoy.’ That being said, it’s a well-executed maritime story and a solid film offering. Those that appreciate the genre more will likely get a lot out of it.

If this sort of movie is your cup of tea, and you have an Apple TV+ subscription, I would recommend giving Greyhound a chance.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 79%
Metascore – 62/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.5/10
IMDB Score – 7.1/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

Movie Trailer:

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