Movie review: ‘Greyhound’

Posted 12/4/20

Tom Hanks stars in “Greyhound,” a taut, exciting war film.

During World War II, convoys of ships carrying troops and supplies to Great Britain were crucial to the Allied War effort. …

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Movie review: ‘Greyhound’

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Tom Hanks stars in “Greyhound,” a taut, exciting war film.

During World War II, convoys of ships carrying troops and supplies to Great Britain were crucial to the Allied War effort. The convoys were most vulnerable to Nazi U-Boat submarines when beyond the range of air cover. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, that area was known as the “Black Pit.”

Hanks plays Ernie Krause, an inexperienced commander who six months after the United States has entered World War II, has to shepherd a group of ships through the Black Pit and battle a group of submarines known as the wolf pack.

Before he ships out, he asks his girlfriend, Evelyn (Elisabeth Shue) to follow him to training: “I can propose to you on a tropical island.”

“The world has gone crazy, Ernie. Let’s wait until we can be together.”

“I’ll always be looking for you, Evie. No matter where I am.  Because when you do, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

Charlie Cole (the underrated Stephen Graham), is Ernie’s first officer on the ship Greyhound.

Ernie is a benevolent leader. When an attacking enemy ship is destroyed, he immediately shares the credit with the entire crew. A spiritual man, he refers to those killed on the other side as “lost souls.”

Ernie continues to battle the enemy, who outnumber them physically and who also broadcast demoralizing messages over the radio frequencies. He wears many hats, including presiding over the funerals of sailors he lost and burying them at sea. 

Ernie has 12 hours to get back to protection from air cover.  Seven ships are lost, two are abandoned. Two U-boats are sunk.

He flashes back to Evie’s smiling face, which makes him even lonelier but gives him hope.

“The sea favors the grey wolf on the hunt, not the hound on the run, you and your comrades will die today,” the radio voice says with two hours left to air cover.

Clever and deft maneuvering keep a torpedo from destroying the ship. It harmlessly scrapes Its side in a razor thin miss.

“Greyhound” is beautifully filmed by Aaron Schneider to capture the desolation and danger of the open sea and cold waters. Not since “Saving Private Ryan” has Hanks (who also wrote the screenplay based on the novel “The Good Shepherd” by C.S. Forester) been so compelling during World War.

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