The incessant sound of the waves surrounds the boat. Sometimes it seems that the water forgets the presence of this boat on it; But then he hits her with all his might and reminds us that, on the high seas, you should never let your guard down. In these strange moments of calm, Commander Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks), captain of Greyhound, he gives himself an opportunity to take a sip of the iced coffee that has been waiting for him for hours. But there is something in that tranquility that does not sound good. And when everything seems to be going smoothly, the ship’s nautical radar indicates it’s time to fight for your life.
Directed by Aaron Schneider (2004 Oscar winner for Best Short Film for Two Soldiers), Greyhound: in the sights of the enemy It places us in the middle of the North Atlantic and in one of the crucial and defining moments of the Second World War. Set in 1942 – three years before the end of the war – the film takes us aboard the Greyhound to be part of a fierce sea battle between a convoy of 37 Allied ships and a stealthy lineup of Nazi submarines.
Once again, Tom Hanks returns to the historical moment that has caused him so much fascination. After producing the spectacular HBO series Band of brothers and The Pacific, and starring in the heartbreaking film Saving Private Ryan (Dir. Steven Spielberg, 1998), today the Oscar winner faces an unknown danger; one that hides with great skill between the ferocity of the waves and the vastness of the sea.
We have seen him fight against infinite dangers and enemies. On and off planet Earth; in animated adventures or with police dogs; in the world of journalism or amid the dark secrets of the Vatican; piloting planes or describing life as a box of chocolates; fighting against injustice or as a man hopelessly in love; chasing criminals or trapped in an air terminal. But perhaps the sea and war have been the two scenarios where it has been able to shine the most.
Greyhound feels just like the mix of those two worlds. Here the man of Captain Phillips (2013) and that of Castaway (2000) are joined with that of Rescuing Private Ryan (1998) and Bridge of Spies (2015) even with that of Sully: A feat in the Hudson (2016). Here we are witnesses of a film that falls entirely on the shoulders of a man surrounded by danger; one who, despite being in the midst of crossfire or hearing the menacing voice of the enemy through a horn, must remain calm. Thousands of lives depend on his mettle and determination.
Written by Hanks himself – a role we didn’t see him on the screen from Love Calls Twice (2011), his second film as a director and screenwriter – Greyhound seems to be aware of the narrative limitations that his plot could have. In a film of just over an hour and a half, cinematographer Shelly Johnson’s camera (Captain America: The First Avenger, 2011) focuses on closely following Captain Ernest Krause as one more subject of the ship.
Based on the novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester, Hanks unfolds his adventure in a little-explored setting of World War II. Although a couple of years ago Dunkirk (Dir. Christopher Nolan, 2017) placed us for a few moments in the ocean of that war conflict, its history did not occur entirely between ships and submarines.
Here we are in a war feature film made up of a script that oscillates between a maritime language and military indications. However, all this jargon is well complemented by Schneider’s guidance, who illustrates every word with the actions of the entire crew and the threat that surrounds them. –A special mention here deserves the sound design by Ann Scibelli (007: Specter, 2015) and the score by Blake Neely (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow); two elements that surely would have shone more in traditional rooms.
Here, danger surges to the surface without further warning, assaulting us as well as that group of soldiers. We don’t know anything about them; we only know their names and see them in action; doing their best to survive. Whether as a protagonist or as a screenwriter, Hanks shows in Greyhound the enormous respect that the actor has for those who were marked by the pain of war.
Possibly, for many this film can feel like one that does not delve further into its history and characters. However, like the spectacular 1917 (Dir. Sam Mendes, 2019), Greyhound makes this dangerous war mission the most important thing in the footage.
That anguish that caused us to follow Hanks between bullets and mines in the landing of Normandy, today is palpable in a certain way in Greyhound. This great actor again delivers a job at the height of the best of his filmography. Commanded by this tenacious – but remarkably sensitive – man, we are part of a crew threatened by a dangerous and stealthy invisible enemy. One who will not hesitate to attack us with all his might if we dare to let our guard down a bit.
Original title: Greyhound
Director: Aaron Schneider (The Last Great Day)
Actors: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Elisabeth Shue
Release date:July 10, 2020 (MX)
Arturo Magaña Arce Passionate about seeing, writing, reading, researching and talking about cinema in all its forms. I am a Star Wars fan, I know all the chapters of Friends by heart and if you ask me about Mexican cinema, there is no one to shut me up. Editor at Cine PREMIERE.