Movie Review: ‘Greyhound’ a solid WWII film
Tom Hanks revisits World War II in the action-packed drama “Greyhound.” The film does a solid job in telling this story in a quick and compact running time of a little more than 90 minutes.
Any movie is boosted by the mere presence of Hanks, who is after all a two-time Academy Award winning cinematic icon.
Hanks brings a gravity, humanity and screen presence to each part. He is yet again a wonderfully grounded center in a motion picture. Mr. Hanks is the heart and soul of this film.
While a good movie, it lacks the heft and weight of other war films, such as the Tom Hanks 1998 Steven Spielberg directed “Saving Private Ryan,” which had one of the most harrowing opening scenes in film history and gave one a taste of the intensity and horrors of battle, with well-rounded characters. “Greyhound” does a solid job bringing viewers right into the heat of battle as well. These scenes carry an authenticity to them and are at the center of the film.
Although the rest of the characters have a few moments to shine, one does not have a major investment in them at times. The meat of the film is more about the experience of being in the middle of combat and what that is like, which director Aaron Schneider does a nice job bringing to life.
“Greyhound” makes one appreciate the dedication and service men like these made during the war. It is based on the 1955 novel "The Good Shepherd" by C. S. Forester.
The films follows the Fletcher-class destroyer, the USS Keeling, radio call sign "Greyhound", which is captained by Commander Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) of the United States Navy.
The ship is part of a convoy during the Battle of the Atlantic consisting of 37 Allied ships, which is making its way to Liverpool, England. Krause is the overall commander of the escort ships.
It is his first wartime command, and his skills and wits are put to the test as the convoy enters the "Black Pit." This deservedly ominously named place is the Mid-Atlantic gap, where they will be out of range of protective air cover for three days.
The convoy is pursued by a group of U-boats, as Krause and his crew try to survive. The scenes of combat are harrowing and frightening, as Krause and his crew try to do their jobs, as they endure a barrage of horrific obstacles, both mentally and physically.
Early in the film, a U-boat is sunk by the USS Keeling. A crew member reply's “50 less krauts,” which Commander Krause replies “Yes, 50 less souls,” which simply states the cost of war. After all, your enemy is a human being with a life and family just like you. “Greyhound” is full of these simply rendered but effective scenes of war.
What “Greyhound“ may lack in character development, it more than makes up for in the powerful and intricate way it takes the viewer into the heart of a ship in the middle of nowhere in the Atlantic Ocean, that is being pursued by U-Boats in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. The battle scenes in “Greyhound” are intense and well done and do a great job of showing the ins and outs of battle and the feeling of being surrounded by an enemy hiding just under the water in the middle of nowhere, ready to pounce at any time.
I will admit that “Greyhound," while a good film, does feel a bit like an appetizer compared to a main course like “Saving Private Ryan,” But, what it does in the battle scenes, it does quite well.
Greyhound” is rated PG-13 for wartime action and language.
Running time: 1 hour 31 minutes.
Greyhound is now showing on Apple TV+.