U.S. Navy Commander Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) is assigned to lead an Allied convoy across the Atlantic during World War II. His convoy, however, is pursued by German U-boats. Although this is Krause’s first wartime mission, he finds himself embroiled in what would come to be known as the longest, largest, and most complex naval battle in history: The Battle of the Atlantic.
Ever since I first saw the trailer for Aaron Schneider’s Greyhound as a coming attraction many months ago, back when the coronavirus didn’t take over the entire world and back when movie theatres were open and operating at full capacity, I thought that the film looked like quite the adventure. Something about it reminded me quite strongly of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, an excellent war film that places you on the front lines with the soldiers in the midst of the deadly event.
But besides the amazing trailer, one of the most exciting things about the release of Greyhound is the fact that it is written by its lead actor, the legendary Tom Hanks. We all love Hanks. He has been in so many terrific films over the years, and we all know him to be one of the nicest celebrities in the world. I, for one, was fully ready to see what a Tom Hanks-written film would feel like. Now that I have seen it, I can’t say that it lived up to the hype, but Greyhound is still a fast-paced and enjoyable war film that is entirely digestible to watch, almost to a fault.
Without a doubt, the weakest aspect of this film sadly has to do with the characters. They essentially get nothing when it comes to development. The only one that gets even the smallest amount of an arc is that of Hanks’ character Ernest Krause, and even he feels underdeveloped. Everybody else on his ship feels even flatter. We don’t learn a single thing about them throughout the entire duration of the movie, and as a result, it makes it a little bit difficult for the audience to truly care about the team’s plight and their efforts.
Although I greatly enjoyed the aforementioned Dunkirk, that was the exact same problem I had with that film too. It just didn’t have any character development. Both Dunkirk and Greyhound are far more interested in placing you, the viewer, in the middle of an intense battle and showing you how scary it would be to be in the middle of an event like this.
After you get past the first thirty minutes of this film, which is unfortunately rather boring and uneventful, it moves at a much faster pace and the movie as a whole becomes much more enjoyable. It doesn’t show you the grittiness of war and the consequences that come with it and it doesn’t have the interesting and compelling characters as it should, but Greyhound still manages to be an entertaining war movie with plenty of ship-to-ship combat and action spectacles to keep viewers in their seats.
Greyhound suffers from an immense lack of character development, but its fast pace and enjoyable action set-pieces keep this war film afloat.
Overall Grade: B-
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for war-related action/violence and brief strong language
Directed by: Aaron Schneider
Distributed by: Apple TV+
Release Date: July 10, 2020
Running Time: 91 minutes