If there’s one thing Hollywood can do even in their sleep, it is to find a story to make a war film about and sometimes just for the sake of making one. Released by Apple TV+ because of seismic impact that coronavirus had for theatrical releases, Greyhound very much falls into that category. Tom Hanks who wrote the screenplay and also plays the leading role as Captain Krause, isn’t a stranger to these stories either. It’s a however a rare appearance for director Aaron Schneider who makes sort of a comeback to the driver’s seat. There’s a lot to be thankful for such as the compact runtime but this ship doesn’t really sail any new waters.
Just to make a point right in the beginning: it’s a dad movie. Last year we got something similar in ‘Midway’ and even if I usually avoid comparing movies within reviews, now there’s a good reason for it. Greyhound isn’t getting torpedoed by a lengthy runtime or messy editing like Midway, in fact the solid editing keeps the sea battles tense and interesting. Splashy visual effects are used here more carefully and cinematography is using a lot less to deliver more. Since the film stays on the ship for most of it, the sound becomes the shining flare. Things like stormy waves, rapid gunfire, radio communication and Blake Neely’s score work well together to make the sea a terrifying battleground.
The main thing that the movie is battling right from the start is its overall intrigue which is limited since the stakes don’t feel to be all that high. It also starts with a scene between Krause and his lover/friend/something Evelyn (Elisabeth Shue) which doesn’t seem essential to what follows on the ship other than informing that Evelyn exists. Then what is the importance of the freight ships during that time of the war? Who exactly are the soldiers on the military vessels? Those underlying things seem to be a bit underdeveloped and it’s a shame because that’s why you’re not really that invested as a viewer. You know who you’re rooting for but you don’t know how much you’re rooting for them.
Smileys: Sound, editing
Eat your vegetables, captains.