Even though I’m a huge fan of Star Wars The Last Jedi, when describing Apple TV+’s new original film GREYHOUND to my friends, who commented that the 1 hr and 23 minute runtime was “a little short” for a World War II sea battle movie, I had to make a slight joke toward 2017’s very divisive franchise film. I told them, “it’s basically only the chase parts in The Last Jedi, but with shit actually going down.” To describe it for those who haven’t seen or refuse to see The Last Jedi, Greyhound is almost 90 minutes of Tom Hanks going around his battle boat, which is the lead in an Allied convoy trying to bring food and supplies to the British during World War II, and barking commands and orders to try to defend and fight against Nazi U-Boat wolf packs. That’s all it is. There is no character development, there are no long, dragging scenes of little moments between the crew to try and humanize them, no long uplifting speeches from Hanks before the climax of the film, you don’t see any of the Nazi’s in the flesh. It’s simply a “we got to take this important food and shit from point A to point B without being killed by Hitler’s goons, short, sea battle chase” movie. Oh, and there is a overused joke of Hanks being so busy he never ends up eating the meals that are brought to him. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.
This movie was made for the theater, especially with its loud war action designed to make you rumble in your seat and almost destroy your ear drums. It was even supposed to come out the week before Father’s Day weekend. Alas, COVID-19 said to Tom Hanks, “fuck you, I’m going to make you and your wife sick, and then I’m making the film that you wrote and acted in go straight to streaming.” If anyone has gotten the shaft other than those that have gotten sick and died, and the families of those victims by this butt fucking cock sucking virus, it is definitely Tom Hanks. There is a short scene between Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Shue near the beginning of him saying they’ll get married when he gets back, designed to show how war is tragic and separates loved ones, but then this film is off to the races and never really lets up until Hanks and his crew successfully or unsuccessfully make the journey. Other than the sea, missiles, boat action, what have you being completely CGI (don’t worry, it looks impressive), the movie was filmed on an actual boat, the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge. Which is good because it made the claustrophobic atmosphere of the tight quarters seem real and anybody who is anybody wouldn’t have believed for a second if it had been a studio stage made up to look like a real navy ship.
The action of the film, which is basically the whole run time, is very intense, and the climax is very well done and tight, where it comes down to Tom Hands and two U-Boats surrounding the USS Greyhound, firing missiles and then just straight coming at ’em. Hanks can act his way out of a paper bag so no problems in that area whatsoever. Hanks also wrote the screenplay, based on the novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester, and even though I was never in any part of the Navy, all the lingo and orders he commands to his crew sounded legit and well researched. The director, Aaron Schneider, directed one other feature length film, called Get Low that I have seen but don’t quite remember being all that memorable. He does a good job here, his work on 1998’s squid monster movie Deep Rising giving him the most experience to be able to direct a sea war adventure. The film is a solid, decent one time watch. Nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately its forced premiere into being an Apple TV Plus exclusive instead of the theater because of COVID-19 might be the ultimate nail in the film’s memorable re-watchablility coffin. Then that coffin will have a burial at sea…a sea filled with so much streaming content right now, it will probably be “lost in time…like tears…in rain.”