REVIEW: Most of the “big” films that fell victim to Covid in the last couple of years did at least see a cinema release eventually, even if it was a year or more after they were first scheduled.
And, of course, there were a whole bunch of smaller scale movies that, because of the lockdowns and closures, will now only ever be seen on a smaller screen.
But I am genuinely surprised that Greyhound fell into the latter camp. With cinemas screaming out for new product last year, I would have though this Tom Hanks’ starring, war-time thriller would have found a grateful audience.
Greyhound is probably the best film you didn’t see in 2020 and 2021.
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The film is set across three days in the life of an Atlantic convoy, carrying tons of vital fuel, food and equipment from the USA to the UK in the dark days of 1942.
Because of the limited range of the aircraft of the era, the convoys were forced to make most of the journey without air cover, as they traversed the so-called “black pit” where the German U Boats waited to wreak havoc. Without airforce protection, the ships were pretty much sitting ducks, with only a handful of surface warships between them and the deadly “Wolf Packs”.
Tom Hanks plays Greyhound’s Commander Ernest Krause.
Tom Hanks wrote the script for Greyhound, basing it closely on the acclaimed novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester. Hanks considered directing himself, but eventually Aaron Schneider was brought in to direct his first feature since he debuted with the absolutely terrific Get Low – starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek – in 2009.
Greyhound is a lean and action-packed film, with several well-staged battles and action sequences. But I think what distinguishes it is that Hanks and Schneider made the time to establish and fill-in some believable characters. Even crewmen who only appear for a few scenes are still well-defined by the script. No one here is “just background”. To achieve that within a 90-minute run-time is remarkable.
Greyhound is an under-appreciated movie that deserved to be on a big screen.
Greyhound is a well-written, fairly authentic and unusually relatable wartime drama. If all you want to do is catch a decent, action-packed “war movie”, then you will be happy you chose it. But, if you are hoping for something with a bit of emotional depth among the depth charges, then you’ll quite probably like it as well.
This is an under-appreciated movie that deserved to be on a big screen.
Greyhound is now available to stream on Apple TV+.