“Greyhound, good luck surviving the night.”
I’m sure, like so many of you, we are all missing the feeling of sitting in the movie theater as the surround sound rocks you to your core. But as we ponder our lost love of stuffing our bellies with popcorn, as epic scenes flash upon the screen, if any movie is going to have you miss the theater even more, it’s Greyhound.
Inspired by C.S. Forester’s novel, The Good Shepard, Greyhound tells the story of Commander Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks), first time captain of a destroyer now being tasked to provide protection to merchant ships bringing necessary supplies to the allies overseas. The destroyer pushes forward through the Atlantic, “The Black Pit”, where German U-Boats, also known as “The Wolfpack,” lay waiting to strike at allies, and take down any ships trying to pass. While this isn’t a true story by any means, the Battle of the Atlantic was very much a true hell.
Set in February of 1942, you can feel the ocean air stinging you as the USS Keeling: codename Greyhound, pushes through the Atlantic, enveloped by sheets of ice. Greyhound takes no time at all before you’re right in the middle of the action. Gun fires and explosions escalate as the surrounding ships plunge into the freezing water. Hanks is no stranger to the WWII genre — by all account, one could say it’s his favorite. His performance as Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan can easily hold itself among some of the best performances in the last 50 years. Though I wouldn’t go as far as to say that his performance in Greyhound is better than Saving Private Ryan, I will say that Hanks does an equally convincing job at illustrating the most horrific parts of war.
Hanks’ contribution to the Greyhounds’ development doesn’t end with his acting. He takes on a more behind-the-scenes role as he puts pen to paper in writing the screenplay. Just add this to the list of iconic WWII projects (Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific) Hanks has been involved in. While the script may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I didn’t seem to mind the few hiccups. This argument also lends itself to the question of the film’s pacing. Greyhound can feel rushed at times, but I couldn’t help but enjoy the fast pace in which the story is told. To be honest, do we really need another two and a half hour film set on a battleship? Probably not, so I enjoyed the quick action that Greyhound provides. The swift story-telling emphasizes the snap decision making Captain Krause has to make. No room for hesitation or mistakes.
Greyhound marks the next installment on the continuing “Don’t Travel with Tom Hanks” saga. No doubt, this film should have had its time in a theater – thus adding to a greater overall experience. I guess we will always wonder what it would have been like to see this film in a theater experience. However, as epic as the film wants to be, it fails to be a standout in an already saturated genre. While Greyhound is not for everyone, if you’re in the mood for that inspiring war film, or even if you’re just a history buff, it may not be your favorite movie to come out of quarantine, but Greyhound will likely float your boat.
Directed by: Aaron Schneider
Written by: Tom Hanks
Starring: Tom Hanks, Elisabeth Shue, and Stephen Graham