Sully is about 95 minutes long and I would say that there is about 60 minutes worth of good material. I’m actually impressed it was that much considering the landing on the river and the rescue all took place within the span of 24 minutes. To expand the story, the movie is framed around the investigation featuring flashbacks to the incident and other moments in Sully’s life.
The biggest problem of the movie is that the crux of the story happens in 208 seconds. Given the short climax, director Clint Eastwood decided to manufacture a villain in the investigation team. Early in the movie, after the first of many meetings in a hotel conference room, Captain Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tells his co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) that the investigating board is just doing their job and I would agree. An investigation after a major crash is hardly suspect. I doubt anyone would suspect these pilots to go through so much scrutiny considering everyone survived, but it was worth including in the movie for added tension, considering everyone knew the ending.
The other thing Eastwood does to add to the runtime is cut back to the accident four times from three different perspectives: from inside the cabin, from the passengers’ point of view, from the perspective of the rescue teams, and then back in the cabin. I probably didn't need to see it happen a fourth time but I guess they thought — if it’s only four minutes long what’s the harm in showing it again?
Sully was shot using IMAX cameras, and given the events of the movie I imagine it bolstered the plane scenes. I, however, didn't get the chance to see it in IMAX. Watching these moments on an IMAX screen was probably pretty extraordinary, though I doubt it added anything to the hearings.
Tom Hanks is also undoubtedly one of the best parts of the movie as the titular character. Hanks had a ton of access to his subject and was able to perfectly embody what was going though Sully’s head. I think anyone can identify what it’s like having your work questioned by a superior, so it’s easy to identify with our hero. Plus Hanks is so damn likable that the earnestness of the performance and stoic nature of Captain Sullenberger really shines through.
There's an interesting story in Sully and I'm glad I saw it however, there's just not enough to fill 95 minutes. But with 60 quality minutes I’m sure there are worse things you could do with the other 35. Given what movie prices are now I think you either need to gamble and see it in IMAX, or wait until it comes out on Netflix, because while Sully is a story worth watching it doesn't quite justify a trip to a normal theater. B-/C+