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Film review: Tom Hanks' Greyhound could sink without trace, says Bishop's Stortford Independent's Charlie Hughes

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the new Tom Hanks film, Greyhound, is a survival thriller in the same vein as Captain Phillips, Apollo 13 or even Castaway.

It does have a lot of the same ingredients: isolated locations, confined spaces and Hanks as the heroic captain. But the differences here are that Greyhound plays out more like an action film and, unfortunately, isn't nearly as good.

Hanks (who also writes the screenplay) stars as Captain Ernest Krause, an American navy commander tasked with leading an Allied convoy across the Atlantic during the Second World War. Problems arise with the arrival of a Nazi U-boat, which threatens to jeopardise their mission.

Greyhound becomes one of the first major films to be released on Apple TV+ after its cinema release was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the film does nothing to improve the streaming service's very modest catalogue.

Even at a brisk 90 minutes, the relentless action is disappointingly monotonous. Blake Neeley's pulsating score and Hanks' concerned facial expressions constantly tell us we should be feeling tense, but genuine moments of tension are sparse. This is perhaps due to Hanks' shallow screenplay, which is drowned by the incessant noise of gunfire and explosions.

Tom Hanks in Greyhound. Picture: PA Photo/Apple TV+
Tom Hanks in Greyhound. Picture: PA Photo/Apple TV+

The script is also marred by thin characterisations, which compromise the audience's ability to invest in Ernest and the rest of the crew.

Maybe Hanks isn't to blame and Greyhound has just been disastrously over-edited. Either way, unlike in the great naval thrillers Das Boot and The Hunt For Red October, spectacle is prioritised over substance. The result: fleeting and forgettable.

Hanks has described this as his passion project, but passion is clearly what's missing. Even his sturdy performance struggles to keep this maritime shoot-out afloat.

Star rating: *****

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