By Andrew Jenck
Greyhound is one of the most straightforward films I’ve seen in the past couple of years’; very –to-the-point, plot-driven, and almost immediately jumps right into the action while occasionally hitting on the emotional beats. That’s not to say the film is lazy or shallow. It’s an intense, well made, and action-packed thrill ride that goes on just long enough for a satisfying experience.
The story comes from the 1955 novel, The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester, fitting as the filmmaking feels somewhat drenched in 50s essence. Although this is thoroughly a WWII movie, the sub nautical adventure feel, the gruff determination of our lead, and a ship facing off against a faster, and potentially more dangerous enemy harkens back to that era. My favorite part however wasn’t the face-off between Greyhound the ship and the Nazi sub, but rather the scuffles in the captain’s room. You see the radar’s limitations and how the crew members must rely on their intuition to try and combat this beast of a machine.
Our main character, Commander Krause, is defined as a low-key Christian determined to make it back to his sweetheart at home to the point where he’ll stand so long he’ll bleed, which wouldn’t click if not for Tom Hanks. His stern but vulnerable attitude gives the character humanity and personifies the Greyhound ship itself: not the largest in the fleet but the most fierce and resilient. Hanks also writes the screenplay, and gives the film enough weight and emotional resonance for the audience to be thoroughly engaged. Greyhound was directed by Aaron Schneider who was a second unit director of photography for Titanic, and brings some of that same energy to the action sequences. He understands the weight and limitations of the ship and how sudden movement can affect its surroundings, especially when fighting a quicker, stealthier enemy.
It’s unfortunate that this film couldn’t be released theatrically, let alone that it was released on Apple TV+ which will be another headache for the 50 and up audience this is targeted towards. As someone in his early 20s who has gotten a bit sick of WWII documentaries, I was thoroughly entertained. The film is similar to a theme park ride where it may not be long or deep but it immerses you, fills you up with adrenaline, and puts you in a simple story to make you go along for the ride.