Greyhound (Apple TV +)
Starring Tom Hanks
Directed by Aaron Schneider
It is hard to determine what Greyhound would have looked like on the big screen. Massive waves across the screen do not necessarily render themselves to a film that makes waves. The ocean be damned, what is this film trying to do???!!! Or say.
Trying to photo-frame the World War 2 valour of one American navy officer Ernest Krause (Hanks) who is sent to the Atlantic to combat German submarines. That, I am afraid, is the pretext for a dreadful damp waterborne soggy saga with everyone on board trying to look stricken and barking orders while the background sounds like someone insistently rubbing a steel spoon against an iron wall.
Apart from a black butler who serves toasts and omelets whenever these brave naval soldiers get time off for a bite (that doesn’t happen too often as war heroes gotta do what they gotta do), everyone is constantly talking in naval jargon, tinkering with machines that look self important but obsolete.
I can’t tell how much of the period detail is authentic. No one can. The set design and the language of communication are way too technical to impress anyone who has not been there, or at least read through the collected works of Alistair MacLean without faltering over bustling war descriptions.
Having waded through this slushy dull drama which thinks soldiers shouting at each is a sign of perky storytelling, I still don’t know why it was made or why a star of Tom Hanks’ stature should lend his name and reputation to a film which, for all its high-falutin stabs at the professionalism, is a boys’adventure story glorifying the misplaced heroism of misguided youngsters who go out there to get killed in Japan, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
The performances are hard to describe as most of the actors have their faces darkened by the tremulous oceanic light or obfuscated by their caps and curt conduct. Elizabeth Shue playing the only woman character in this game of brawns, makes an early appearance and exits hastily.
Sensible woman! Hanks I’ve always found to be overrated. He is an earnest actor limited by his basic emotional innocence. You can’t expect Hanks to play a serial killer: he wouldn’t know where to poke push stab and shoot.
Here conquering the enemy on stretches of ocean, Hanks is at sea.