Greyhound With Tom Hanks: Wrote Himself, Played Himself

The 2020 American war film Greyhound is available on Apple TV+ since July 10th. Directed by Aaron Schneider, starring Tom Hanks, who also wrote the screenplay. This is Schneider's second feature film. He shot his first film Get Low in 2009 and now, after almost a ten-year hiatus, he got back. The fact that Tom Hanks wrote himself the script for this film should not surprise you, it is not the first time he writes scripts for films and TV series that he is working on. He directed and wrote scripts for the musical comedy drama That Thing You Do! (1996) and the romcom Larry Crowne (2011). These were all original scripts, but Greyhound is an adaptation of the book «Good shepherd» by Cecil Scott Forester. In this case it's a quite loose adaptation.

by Sandra Kuznetsova


The film is about three not the best days of forty-two-years-old сommander Ernest Krause of the United States Navy, captain of the destroyer Greyhound. The plot unfolds during the World War II, in 1942. The mission of the commander was to lead the protecting screen of four escort vessels convoying thirty-seven Allied merchantmen across the icy North Atlantic from America to England. The convoy was supposed to cross the "Black pit" - the area of operation of German wolf packs of U-boats. This is a place in the middle of the Atlantic which is located at a distance from both the airfields of the United States and Ireland, so for several days the convoy will be forced to go without an air escort. The merchant ships can only rely on the forces of combat escort.
The concentrated action begins when commander Krause is called to the bridge just after he has taken a shower. The wolf pack is forming and he has no time to even put on warm outer garments. For the next forty-eight hours he remains on the bridge of his ship in constant tension, without the possibility of merely eating.

Exhausted beyond measure, he must make countless decisions as he leads his small fighting force against the relentless U-boats. Through daylight and darkness the subs strike — and the escort ships strike back. Inevitably ships are sunk and men are drowned, but the enemy pays the price and the convoy pushes on to its objective.
Does it seem exciting? Definitely.

I thought the same thing when I watched the trailer, but it happens to be more spectacular and engrossing than the movie itself.
An hour and a half of gray scale, incomprehensible words and actors who understand perfectly well that the main thing in this film is not them, but the visual effects. Visual effects, by the way, are of high quality. It would have looked even better on the big screen (as it was planned), but because of Covid-19, the film only received a digital release.

In comparison with the book, the film presents us with a much shorter story. Book commander Krause (by the way, his name is George, in the film his name was changed for some reason) repelled much more attacks by submarines.

At the beginning of the film the captain's beloved Evelyn, or Evie, as he affectionately calls her, appears in his flashback. It wasn't mentioned in the book, it was Tom Hanks ' idea. It didn't make much sense: the flashback broke the linearity of the story, and added unnecessary sentimentality. The only thing we found out was that the captain's name is Ernest, Ernie. But it wasn't necessary to add a flashback for it.

Captain Krause's piety may also seem like a scriptwriter's trick, but this is exactly according to the book's сanon - he is the son of a Lutheran priest.
By and large, this film is another by Tom Hanks's attempt to become a screenwriter. And not a very successful one. Also don't expect any special acting. His character is frankly boring to watch, we don't even hear his inner monologue. Commander Krause turned out to be a formulaic brave captain who fights an invisible enemy (German soldiers are impersonal, we can't see their faces). This is his first such fight like this, but he is still going to win. A greyhound deftly beats a wolf pack. In general, the most interesting thing that in the Greyhound is action, although even this was shown to us much less than it is expected.
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