Combustible Celluloid
With: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Elisabeth Shue, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Karl Glusman, Tom Brittney, Matt Helm, Joseph Poliquin, Devin Druid, Maximilian Osinski, Dominic Keating, Grayson Russell, Dave Davis, Michael Benz, Travis Przybylski, Josh Wiggins, Chet Hanks, Ian James Corlett, Thomas Kretschmann
Written by: Tom Hanks, based on a novel by C.S. Forester
Directed by: Aaron Schneider
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for war-related action/violence and brief strong language
Running Time: 91
Date: 07/10/2020

Greyhound (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Ship Scrape

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Tom Hanks adapted a novel by C.S. Forester and wrote a terrific part for himself in Greyhound, a WWII story that debuted July 10, 2020 on Apple TV+. He plays Captain Krause, assigned to protect a convoy of ships carrying supplies and troops from the United States to England. These convoys can be protected from the air when close to the shore, but there's a range in the middle of the ocean — called "The Black Pit" — that is beyond the reach of aircraft, and in that area, the ships are on their own. Of course, a German submarine immediately attacks. The captain is a devoutly religious man who does not rejoice when Germans are killed, and he refuses to either eat or sleep until he has guided his convoy to safety. Playing cat-and-mouse with the subs, Hanks plays the role smart, calm and thoughtful, rather than racing and barking orders. Director Aaron Schneider (Get Low, and an Oscar winner for his short film Two Soldiers) isn't naturally gifted at depicting the action within a confined space, and it's not always clear, but it's also far from a mess; it's serviceable, and compact. Meanwhile, Hanks fills the screenplay with technical, military jargon, and much of it just slips in one ear and out the other. It's good for the cat-and-mouse stuff, but it doesn't allow for very much character development, especially among the rest of the men, most of whom get lost in the shuffle. Stephen Graham is a standout as the ship's lieutenant commander, but Elisabeth Shue has a tiny, almost unnecessary role as the captain's waiting-at-home sweetheart.

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