Early in World War II, an inexperienced U.S. Navy captain must lead an Allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolfpacks.
Tom Hanks WWII drama ‘Greyhound’ is the latest cinematic casualty of Covid-19 as it bypasses cinemas and goes straight to Apple TV, an outcome that sadly does impact on the experience of watching the movie. ‘Greyhound’ is based on a 1955 novel called ‘The Good Shepherd’ about supply runs across the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War. These supply runs were fraught with danger due to regular attacks by German U-boats and in the vast wide open space of the mid Atlantic, air support wasn’t possible for most of the journey. That led to support being provided by British, US and Canadian destroyers to protect the convoys on their travels, one of which was the Greyhound, led by Commander Ernest Krause who is played by Tom Hanks (who also wrote the screenplay).
The film has some really strong selling points, namely a tight 90 minute running time that keeps the pacing fast and the tension high, and I felt in terms of the battle logistics, the filmmakers had a good grasp of scale and as a viewer it was easy to follow the action and the geography of where certain ships were at any given point. Naval battles are simultaneously one of the most exhilarating things that can be put on screen and one of the most challenging and ‘Greyhound’ does suffer in this regard. It relies heavily on CGI which is understandable, however the poor quality of CGI is less so and it gives the film a B-movie feel which is out of sync with what you’d expect from a film starring Tom Hanks. Krause is barely developed and spends most of his time running from one side of the boat to the other, barking orders to those under his command with a rhythm that starts to become repetitive – the rest of the supporting cast barely register as anything more than plot functions.
I’m a great believer in the cinematic experience and there’s no doubt a film such as ‘Greyhound’ would benefit massively from viewing in that environment, so perhaps I’d have enjoyed it more on the big screen, but it does feel like a minor entry in Hanks filmography based on my viewing at home.
Directed By: Aaron Schneider
Starring: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Elisabeth Shue and Karl Glusman