Greyhound Review: Tom Hanks Wants to Talk to You About WWII (Again)

Posted 2020/07/07 1 0

What you wind up with is a much better history lesson than play, despite the evident care with which Hanks brings the narrative of Greyhound to lifetime.

Tom Hanks at Greyhound 2020
At a piece he composed Empire Magazine about his new movie Greyhound (which he scripted and stars ), Tom Hanks clarified his ongoing fascination with tales about WWII, stating they touch upon ageless topics of”heartbreak and anxieties of that do not know.” Inadvertently, Hanks may have also pinpointed the largest issue with the job: it is more interested in educating audiences about Naval warfare along with also the struggles of early radar compared to researching its protagonist’s self-doubt and insecurities. And though the film’s sea battles are staged with cinematographer-turned manager Aaron Schneider (helming his next feature here, over ten years following his acclaimed debut with Get Reduced ), the lack of a persuasive character throughline makes it hard to become emotionally invested in his or her result. What you wind up with is a much better history lesson than play, regardless of the evident care with which Hanks brings the narrative of Greyhound to lifetime.
Adapted from C.S. Forester’s 1955 book The Great Shepherd, the film stars Hanks as Ernest Krause, a veteran Naval officer who is granted control of the destoyer USS Keeling (call signal Greyhound) shortly following the U.S. enters WWII. Tasked with leading a bunch of Allied boats across the North Atlantic, it drops to Krause and his guys to look after the vessels out of the wolfpack of German U-boats hot on their tails. The Black Pit (an unprotected place beyond the range of the RAF’s aircraft), the Greyhound’s crew should not just combat their enemies, but also the dangerous conditions of the sea and the utter exhaustion of staying in their toes as they race nonstop to make it on another side of the Pit before they have overrun.

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Contrary to Forester’s book, Greyhound barely scatches the surface of that Krause actually is, not as touches upon his backstory. There are nods to him devout and the girl he loves (Elisabeth Shue, sadly wasted here), but the movie struggles to dig under his stoic outside. His inexperience – a significant part of Forester’s publication – is rather presented as an overdue show intended to reframe the story, but the absence of installation robs it of any actual effects. With this much of the film dedicated to showing the way the WWII-era warship works, there is very little room for advancement in regards to the supporting players , that is a pity given the fantastic actors in the cast (Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo). The two Saving Private Ryan as well as the Hanks-produced Band of The Pacific miniseries revealed it is possible to concentrate attention to historic detail with attractive stories about officers beating various physical and psychological barriers in WWII, however, Greyhound is overly fixated on the former, to its detriment.
Tom Hanks at Greyhound 2020Tom Hanks at Greyhound
At precisely the exact same time, Hanks has obviously done his research, according to the sheer quantity of Naval jargon in his script. That feeling of verisimilitude is further improved by Schneider and his group’s work behind the camera. A substantial chunk of Greyhound was captured on a set of real life vessels (the HMCS Montréal and USS Kidd), letting it easily approximate the cramped feeling of being aboard an antiquated destroyer. It is just when the movie’s actors are put against the CGI background of the Dark Pit which Greyhound’s budgetary limits start to reveal, in spite of the extra realism of water always splashing the camera lens.
To its credit, Greyhound much more or less does what Hanks feels great WWII stories should do: inviting people not to give up at the darkest of times, even if they are pushed into the point of fatigue. It is a very simple concept, but one that is relevant for anybody who is only hoping to make it from 2020 in 1 piece. Nonetheless, it’s easily apparent why Sony postponed Greyhound over a year out of its initial release date in March 2019 before sending it over Apple in the aftermath of this COVID-19 pandemic: it is not a strong enough personality slice to compete at awards year, but it’s also overly terminology-heavy and docudrama-like to fully work as a summer thriller. Under the conditions, however, it’s adequate enough to merit an eye in the event that you currently have an Apple TV+ subscription… or, such as Hanks, simply can not appear to have enough WWII pop culture generally.