Wow, now THIS is how you make a war movie. If you’re a war movie buff, especially WW2 movies, you owe it yourself to check out GREYHOUND (2020) ASAP.
Based on the book THE GOOD SHEPHERD by C.S. Forester, who produced the classic Hornblower series, GREYHOUND focuses on U.S. Navy Commander Ernest Krause, captain of the destroyer GREYHOUND and assigned to escort a convoy of supply ships streaming across the North Atlantic to aid besieged Britain. It’s his first operation, and he’s about to be baptized the hard way into the horrors of the Battle of the Atlantic. The most dangerous part of the voyage is a stretch of sea in which the convoy will be unprotected by air cover and under constant threat by German U-Boats. Almost immediately, a wolf pack collects around the ships, intent on ripping the convoy to shreds.
Starring as Krause, Tom Hanks also wrote the script, and he didn’t mess with the accuracy. The movie rolls out like a military procedural. We see the destroyer’s bridge crew work together under his direction, as he is forced to respond to constant threats and make tough choices with barely a break. The film gets everything right–the procedures, the gun battles, the way the crew look at their captain not only for direction and inspiration but to check if he’s cracking under the strain. The tension is terrific, the roiling cold seas a powerful setting, the German U-Boats with their distinctive insignia terrifying as they boldly attack like sharks. Characterization isn’t staged or forced to try to make us care. Good acting by Hanks and his captain’s mannerisms and working style tell us everything we need to know about him and make us root for him.
If you can’t tell yet, I loved this one and highly recommend it. It defies typical Hollywood movie conventions to offer something simple, entertaining, and pure.