How does a movie maker find drama in a story that everyone knows the ending to?
What director Clint Eastwood has done is make the movie more about the National Transportation Safety Board investigation then about the actual crash in the river. We get to see the crash several times from many angles, but the movie spends more time in conference rooms than in the chilly Hudson.
Tom Hanks does a wonderful job, as you might expect, playing the man-of-little-words, just doin' my job hero. Hanks was apparently born to play such parts.
I found the crash scenes to be pretty scary and emotional. There is one scene in particular when the plane is going down, where the flight attendants, in their jump seats in the front of the passenger compartment, scream "Brace brace brace! Keep your heads down!" in unison, over and over. I swear, if I ever survive a plane crash, I would hear the flight attendants yelling in my nightmares forever.
The movie is pretty short, only 96 minutes, but didn't feel rushed.
Aaron Eckhart, who plays the co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, with understatement and some humor, is also pretty good, and really, the only other actor other than Hanks who has much to do. To me, he's always that guy on screen that you recognize but can't remember where you saw him before. Oh, yeah, he played Harvey Dent in that Batman movie. Maybe I'll remember him now.
The only drawback of the film for me was tone of the investigation. From some reviews I've read (notably the bad reviews), Eastwood rather played up the NTSB as trying to 'get' Sully and Skiles and blame them for the crash. There is a key reveal during the public hearing part of the investigation, which I won't spoil for you, that I, in particular, found ridiculous, although it didn't ruin the movie for me. If you don't know by now that movies about true events are often highly fictionalized, then I'm sorry to break your bubble.
The day before the film opened, Ton Hanks and Chesley Sullenberger were on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. I hadn't had much interest in seeing the movie up until then but their appearance made me interested. Hanks talked about how the NTSB is required to investigate every plane crash. He spoke quite favorable about the NTSB and said in real life it was a 'friendly' interrogation that Sully went through. Which is not how it was in the movie.