Greyhound is playing now on Apple TV.
Directed by Aaron Schneider’s Greyhound writhes with the same nautical energy as The Battle of the River Plate (1956), offering us a raw cat-and-mouse thriller where human emotions sit centre stage. Adapted by Tom Hanks from the C.S. Forester 1955 novel, The Good Shepherd, there is much to admire in this thrilling tale of bravery, doubt and seamanship. However, despite the nerves, emotion, and futility of war central to its plot, Greyhound struggles to find its core message. Based on the real-life horror of securing North Atlantic trade routes during World War II, The Battle of the Atlantic sits at the heart of Hanks, and Schneider’s thrilling tale, paying homage to the trade escort ships and the 72,000 lost souls in the turbulent depths of the Atlantic.
Tom Hanks plays the role of Captain Ernest Krause, a career officer on his first command. His vessel: the USS Keeling (call sign Greyhound), is escorting 37 Allied trade vessels across the Atlantic to Liverpool. However, the ships must pass through the ‘Black Pit’, a stretch of ocean unprotected by air cover, where silent German U-boats stalk their prey. Hanks is determined to show that real heroes don’t wear spandex or capes; instead, they have doubts, writhe with fear and make decisions based on the need for survival. However, Greyhound lacks the time and space to build an audience connection to Hanks Captain Ernest Krause, ultimately providing us with little more than a snapshot of the man rather than a full-bodied exploration of his faith, motivations and beliefs.
Visually Greyhound is engaging and epic, the ferocious waves of the North Atlantic battering the steel beasts who venture through them as the unforgiving ocean becomes a character in its own right. The use of sound is equally impressive in enhancing the sense of isolation and fear. However, for all its positives, the lack of emotion and connection never allows us into the minds of the Captain or his crew, and as a result, Greyhound never finds the depth needed to be anything more than a thrilling but forgettable war movie.
Director: Aaron Schneider
Tom Hanks also appears in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
Josh Wiggins also appears in Giant Little Ones
Michael Benz also appears in Joker