Why Sully Needs To Be Seen In IMAX


Sully revolves around a plummeting aircraft above New York City and its fast-thinking titular pilot that decided to land in the Hudson River rather than returning to an airport and in the process saved 155 lives. Even more miraculously, it's based on a true story. To increase the dread and make these scenes as dramatic as possible, director Clint Eastwood and cinematographer Tom Stern decided to shoot all of Sully using IMAX cameras to increase the size and scope of the film. But does it work? And should you be paying more of your hard earned cash to see Sully in IMAX?

I'll answer the last question first. Yes. Yes you should definitely see Sully in IMAX. However, don't expect to come out of the cinema rubbing your eyes with disbelief at the majesty of the imagery that you've just seen. Its use of IMAX is much more subtle and gentler than we're used to, but nevertheless still impressive. Much like Tom Hanks' depiction of the titular character in Sully, the film's use of IMAX is modestly spectacular. So much so that you might not even notice, or fully appreciate it - especially in comparison to the likes of The Dark Knight, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, or Furious 7, each of which almost gave corneas a hernia because of the eyeball stretching required to drink in all of the spectacle.

Admittedly, Sully possesses just a handful of stunning shots that will make you sit back and quietly utter to yourself, 'Wow' - if not especially because water landing of US Airways Flight 1459 only takes up around a third of the film itself. Instead, it primarily revolves around Sully's struggles to deal with his actions, and what could have gone wrong, in the days after the near tragedy, as well as his pursuit to prove that he made the right decision to land in the water rather than trying to make it back to another airport. Thus, most of the rest of the film is set in hotel and conference rooms - not naturally the greatest environments for IMAX cameras and photography.


But some pretty nifty and impressive IMAX shots of Times Square and New York's resplendent skyline are thrown in for good measure, too. Like being soothed by a delightful bath, Sully's IMAX impact occurs gradually. It rests in the background during the crash landing, but subtly manages to increase the dread, suspense and scale of Captain Sullenberger's action while primarily examining and focusing on the humanity of the characters and their reactions to the impending potential disaster. Without it, Sully just wouldn't be as impressive and awe-inspiring.

Of course, one of the main reasons audiences are intrigued by Sully, in addition to marveling at yet another superlative Tom Hanks performance, is the depiction of the 280 seconds following the bird strike that crippled both engines of Flight 1549 and forced the pilots to land the stricken airliner on water on a freezing January day, and it wouldn't be nearly the cinematic event that it is on the big screen without the use of IMAX cameras in the cinematography.

Still need convincing that you need to see Sully in IMAX so that you can see this brush with tragedy at its most dramatic? Well, IMAX themselves have provided us with a sneak peak at how seeing Sully in this format delivers 26% more of the image than standard theaters. And it's pretty resounding proof.

You can make your decision over whether to see Sully in IMAX or standard screens from tomorrow, Friday September 9th, which is when it finally hits cinemas.

Gregory Wakeman