"Sully" (from director Clint Eastwood) made a surprise landing as top-grossing weekend film for the second week in September. Opening Sept. 9, the "Miracle on the Hudson" movie explores the Jan. 15, 2009plane crash (or landing) on the Hudson River by Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. The plane jetted to stratospheric altitudes in popularity. It lifted superheroes Chesley Sullenberger, Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood to even greater levels. Many people clapped as they left the theater on this auspicious first weekend.

That's no small task for an adult courtroom drama with no special effects and few big names, but stranger thingshave happened.

"Sully" should have bored everyone silly

That may sound cruel--after all it relates a terrifying plane crash landing. The lives of 155 passengers on U.S. AirwaysFlight 1549 were at stake. The fact that they all survived the impact let alone freezing waters and exposure is nothing short of a "miracle on the Hudson." It was a feat of wizardry to rival Harry Potter! But as a true story everyone already knows what happened.

Perhaps not everyone knew there was an investigation into Capt. Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles (Aaron Eckhart). But they couldn't be too surprised given the nature of the incident. Aside from the scenes of the bird strike, Airbus A320 landing and rescue, and flight simulations, it was primarily only a courtroomdrama--all talk and no action. There was tons of technical jargon that wasn't explained.

Viewers without flight experience had to guess at meaning. And yet, far from boring, "Sully" riveted.

Why does "Sully" resonate?

Well, not to give any spoilers, the book-based movie represents classic struggles: man against nature, and man against himself (questioning his judgement). On a deeper level it's man against bureaucracy as little guy Sully takes on a big corporate bully. Even people who understood why the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) launched its investigation had trouble seeing Sully grilled for saving lives.

At first his actions made sense--land on water rather than crash on land. As F.O. Skiles said it was a landing on the river not a crash in the river. But as more evidence from tests and simulations came forward, even his supporters (and many viewers) wondered if he should have tried for an airport. The movie identifies how the human element affects life-and-death decisions. Sully showed that even "infallible" machines can be in error and no amount of algorithms can replace years of experience.

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