Tom Hank’s next WWII flick cares more about the action than the narrative.
Another movie to skip theaters because of the Corona virus, the latest World War II movie “Greyhound” has found its way on AppleTV+. Tom Hanks, the star and screenplay writer of the movie, has been a victim of the virus, and urges people to continue wearing masks. Who knows if he’ll catch it again is what he’s concerned about. I’m tired of this nightmare, and I’m optimistic that a vaccine will be made, and we can get back to our normal mask-free lives. If he can survive the virus, then we can, too.
Back to my review of “Greyhound.” I admire WWII movies like “Saving Private Ryan,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” and “Dunkirk,” and I was looking forward to “Greyhound” as popcorn entertainment. Especially since my grandfathers have both respectively served during the war, and I come from a family of Tom Hanks fans.
The movie has enough thrills to keep you chewing your popcorn and the acting is good, but I felt “Greyhound” cared more about the action sequences than it did about the character development. In fact, so many cannons were firing and so many waves were crashing that I began to lose interest in them. The running time is 90 minutes, so we only have time for Hanks to lead his crew in the war, and less time for him to have a character study. As Captain Ernest Krause, the commander of the fictional USS Keeling destroyer (codenamed Greyhound), he and his men deal with German U-Boats out in the North Atlantic.
Of course, CGI effects have to be used to have the submarines and ships battling out at sea. The real action only comes in when the sailors must think fast, and take orders to fight their enemies. The ships and waves should have been as convincing as their emotions, but they’re basically more or less of the same.
When we do take a break from the action, they only last for five minutes. We see Krause praying to God, dreaming about his girlfriend (Elisabeth Shue), talking to his men (featuring Stephen Graham as his second-in-command), and receiving meals from his head chef (Ron Morgan). And we also see the sailors saluting to the fallen fighters.
Yes, “Dunkirk” prioritized on the soldiers finding their way off the Dunkirk beaches, and it was a short movie, too. But it didn’t only rely on the gunfire to sell tickets. It relied on the emotions and danger. “Greyhound,” directed by Aaron Schneider (“Get Low”), sells itself short. At least, it doesn’t bomb as hard as Michael Bay’s “Pearl Harbor.”
Hanks does give a fine performance as the main protagonist, Blake Neely’s score matches the thrilling sequences with the right notes, and it has elements for WWII fanatics. The morse code shots are well lit and presented, and the words are patriotic. But the movie should have delivered more to the characters and story (based on C.S. Forester’s novel “The Good Shepherd”), instead of letting the fights take up all the spotlight.
Sorry, Hanks, not this time, but keep up the good work.
Available on AppleTV+