Sony Pictures Entertainment
Written by Tom Hanks
Directed by Aaron Schneider
Starring Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Shue, Stephen Graham, Matt Helm, Craig Tate, Rob Morgan, Travis Quentin and Jeff Burkes
Early in World War II, an inexperienced U.S. Navy captain must lead an Allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolfpacks.
Captain Krause has taken the command of the USS Greyhound and his mission is to escort a convoy of merchant ships across the Atlantic to Liverpool England. His voyage becomes perilous for all involved when they enter the “Black Pit”. A two days stretch of the Atlantic that is cut off from air support, the Black Pit is an area where the convoy will come into contact with a wolfpack of German subs that both attack the merchant ships and taint their protectors, including the Greyhound.
Inexperienced in combat, Krause must rally his crew to protect the ships as they hunt for the U-Boats constantly on the prowl.
First off, this movie works as a war movie, an action film and a thriller. The reasons why it works is because it does the opposite of what most movies in these genres do. The film doesn’t put Hanks’ Krause in the role of the hero. While there is the taunting of the wolfpack commander, the film doesn’t give him a face. There is no movie villain for the heroic captain to face off against and Krause’s actions and decisions are entirely based on his training and instinct. There isn’t a cliche “aha” moment where Krause gets the right information at just the right time and perfectly executes his daring plan to save the day.
Instead, we are treated to a film where the suspense is palpable because we can’t predict what will happen next. Schneider’s direction puts the audience right in the action with the actors and you can almost feel the movement and of the ship during the battle scenes. The film does an amazing job of building tension organically based on the situation. Hanks’ screenplay puts Krause in the center, but it doesn’t make him he hero. The story is about the crew and how they rally to do their jobs.
Hanks’ performance sets the tone for the rest of the actors. Even without the trappings of a standard hero vs villain story, Hanks manages to give Krause an emotional arc without saying a word. Some of the best moments of the film are silent and convey who the character is without exposition dumbing it down for the viewer. The fact that he isn’t eating is shown by the constant trays of uneaten food and his lack of sleep is reflected in the film’s final moments that are both poignant and powerful.
Greyhound is an engaging and captivating war film that puts you into the tension of the moment while making you care about both its crew and its mission.