Running Time: 91 mins.
Where Can You See It?: Apple TV+
Premise: During World War II, a U.S. Navy captain (Tom Hanks) must lead an Allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boats. All hands on deck!
Behind-the-Scenes: Tom Hanks wrote the screenplay – one of only a few he’s written during his time in Hollywood. The others are 1996’s That Think You Do! and 2011’s Larry Crowne, both of which he directed. Hanks became fascinated with the story, which is based on a 1955 book, and spent several years fashioning it into a screenplay. The film was intended for theaters but purchased by Apple TV+ in the wake of COVID-19. Director Aaron Schneider is a relative novice – his only other feature directing credit is 2009’s Get Low.
The Good: Hanks commands the screen, in another one of his low-key, unceremonious hero turns. Not unlike Captain Phillips or Sully. Greyhound is blessedly short as far as most war flicks go – usually these suckers clock in at over 2.5 hours. Fans of technobabble and realistic war ship protocols will find tons to like in the no-nonsense way Hanks and company depict them.
The Bad: The story has a lot of repetitive action and is minimalist to a fault. If you are not immediately hooked by the action, it’s easy to disengage. It doesn’t help that there is basically zero character development. Hanks has a few moments in his quarters and in a worthless flashback to Elisabeth Shue playing “the woman waiting at home for him,” but every other actor here is a faceless prop given nothing to do. Hanks just gives commands and they reply with missile or sub coordinates. Give me a mutiny or some interesting characters to go along with that stuff. If not, I’ll just stick with Crimson Tide, and be all the better for it. True to its title, this may be the grayest movie I’ve ever seen. The cinematography is so drab.
Should You See It?: No. Greyhound has gotten a lot of press for being a prototypical “Dad Movie.” I suppose that’s true to some degree – there are probably a good amount of dads out there who will dig it – but, speaking as a fellow dad, I think we deserve better.
Star Rating: ** out of 5 stars
Better Than: Pearl Harbor
Worse Than: Captain Phillips, Sully, Crimson Tide, U-571, Master and Commander
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