Greyhound – Tom Hanks Continues His Service as America’s Perennial Captain

Tom Hanks has certainly earned the sobriquet as America’s Captain. He has played that rank in myriad films and we have grown comfortable seeing his fluidity and confidence in command.
Here he plays the Captain of the eponymous WW2 ship protecting 37 supply ships crossing the Atlantic to aid the Allies. It is the Captain’s first time doing so, despite his nearly four decade career in the Navy.
With lots of traditional / authentic dialogue (subordinates repeat the commands) and plenty of quantitative chatter (“bearing 22 degrees, range 1000”) it all feels edgily realistic.
All the calculations in tracking the enemy U-boats are analog, driving home for us the somewhat seat of the pants nature of sea battle.
Hanks displays a steady confident demeanor in the face of the unseen dangers. His steely eyes and furrowed brows deliver urgency but not fear.
As the deadly enemy submarines begin picking off the ships, close ups of tense faces under the Captain’s command portray the tension building at the onset of nightfall. The gap in the middle of the ocean (“the Black Pit”) leaves the entire convoy fully exposed to the enemy, with no air cover.
Unlike films from yesteryear when the warships were clearly scale models, current digital expertise has expanded the realism markedly. The look of the stormy Atlantic is realistic; ice gathers across the deck and massive waves splash across the decks. Nonetheless, no breath is seen in the frigid scenes on deck, a minor complaint.
In one sweeping vista the POV pulls back from the bridge, along the starboard flank and elevates across an array of ships and then further upward through the clouds for a view of the aurora borealis.
Some of the close quarter battle scenes fascinatingly echo the face to face combat of the Monitor and Merrimack from the Civil War.
The score by Blake Neely is evocative and Tom Hanks extends his skills to a strong screenplay.

Trailer available here.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.