Bronze Label

Greyhound (2020)

8.5/10

It’s 1942, and an American navy commander has to guide a convoy to English waters. However, enemy submarines try to pick them off one at a time. 

“Greyhound” starts with a CGI heavy scene which looks totally unconvincing. Basically, the CGI looks bad, or is at the same level as any average war game. This made me think that watching this movie was a huge mistake, and that the entire movie would be like this. However, this is not the case. So don’t let yourself be discouraged by the opening shot because what follows is beautiful, and exciting. 

Tom Hanks who plays Captain Krause does a marvelous job portraying an old navy commander who might be a little too old for this job. We even see a romantic flashback scene in which the captain says goodbye to an important woman in his life. And that is exactly what this kind of a film needs; properly developed characters with emotions. Because so many times within the war movie genre we only see war related action moments with the focus on death and destruction. We also see that the protagonist is a devout Christian, and this feels very natural and appropriate. Additionally, nothing feels overly cliché, and this must be the case because of the research that the writers must have done. Therefore, this entire picture of the tension between the often invisible enemy submarines, and the vulnerable navy ships and its convoy feels authentic and extremely tense. It also helps that the movie is only 91 minutes long. Because by making this movie a little shorter it allows for more tension and a quicker pace. How many war movies didn’t we already see that are unnecessarily long because the director wanted to make this their epic masterpiece? Just because a movie is long doesn’t mean it is good. 

However, there was one other point which did annoy me besides the bad CGI, and that is the amount of missed shots. Yes, I understand that this specific subgenre of naval war movies needs to have a certain plot structure. Because otherwise these movies would only be 60 minutes long. However, I personally think that it is unconvincing that so many shots just missed, and other shots hit whenever the story needed to move on. You can call this good writing, or melodramatic writing, but it didn’t feel convincing. Nevertheless, this specific aspect was still entertaining so at least it managed to accomplish that. You actually could argue that it is necessary to create these melodramatic moments because without them it would be too realistic and feel like a semi-documentary. So it is actually good from a storytelling perspective. It evokes emotions and that is why you want to watch this movie. Moreover, it is the same story with all war movies; you have to insert a huge entertainment value into the plot structure otherwise the majority of the people won’t watch it. “Band of Brothers” (2001) might have been the exception, but that was partially because of the miniseries format. That being said, the last time someone mentioned “Band of Brothers” (2001) to me was around 2007 I think. It is still one of the best miniseries created but it might not be something for the general public. The same with the TV series “Rome” (2005) which was canceled after just two seasons. My point is that the war genre itself is very tricky when you are writing it for the general public. You have to romanticize, and dramatize a lot of scenes otherwise people lose interest very quickly. Additionally, if you are interested in naval movies then you might also be interested in the (West) German film “Das Boot” (1981), or the Russian movie “Admiral” (2008 film). Overall, “Greyhound” was very enjoyable, but not at all on the same level as “Band of Brothers” (2001). 

Directed by 

Aaron Schneider(directed by)

Writing Credits  

Tom Hanks(screenplay by)
 
C.S. Forester(based on the novel “The Good Shepherd” by)

Cast 

Tom HanksCaptain Krause
Elisabeth ShueEvelyn
Stephen GrahamCharlie Cole
Matt HelmLt. Nystrom
Craig TatePitts
Rob MorganCleveland
Travis QuentinIpsen
Jeff BurkesShannon (as Jeffrey Burkes)

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