There’s no escaping military thrillers for Tom Hanks as the actor is back this week in Greyhound, now releasing July 10 exclusively on Apple TV+.
The film takes place in Winter 1942. While Nazi forces are doing as much damage as they can in Europe, all eyes turn towards England. American ships travel from North America in order to deliver men and supplies across the pond. Longtime U.S. Navy officer Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) is the man in charge as he leads a destroyer, Keeling (code-named Greyhound), and three other escort ships. Krause–with no prior combat experience–is on a mission to protect the 37 merchant vessels and their cargo on the way to England. If you’re familiar with the Atlantic campaign during the war, you already know that German U-boats provided a problem when traveling across the ocean.
Air cover can only do so much. There is no air cover when the ships are traveling through what’s called the “Black Pit.” It’s a nightmare for anyone on the ships at the time. This is the time that can make or break a leader. One wrong move and that’s the end. Krause and company are already two days in with some 50 hours remaining until the British can provide air cover. Until that cover comes, they’re on their own while being hunted by U-boats. Krause’s decisions are the difference between life and death.
Most of us are familiar with the ground action in Europe and the Pacific campaign. The Atlantic campaign lasted 1939-1945. With the Nazis essentially controlling Europe, the British had to get supplies from somewhere. The United States wouldn’t officially enter the war until December 1941. Take away the naval escorts and the damage would have been far worse. The death toll was higher than 72,000 people.
There’s something so satisfying about Tom Hanks portraying a member of the military. Maybe it is the actor’s history with films such as Saving Private Ryan and the World War 2 miniseries on HBO. I mean, he’s one of the greatest actors in his generation. A two-time Oscar winner, the actor is back in the running again in the Atlantic Ocean-set thriller. Hanks not only stars in the film but he also wrote the script–basing it on C.S. Forester’s novel, The Good Shepherd.
On the film’s technical side, cinematographer Shelly Johnson is no stranger to World War 2 films. Johnson was the director of photography for a little known film called Captain America: The First Avenger. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?
On the music front, Blake Neely’s score reminds me of both Dunkirk and Saving Private Ryan. Is there an unwritten rule about World War 2-set film scores? Maybe but I don’t know. Regardless, it should be an awards contender this season.
I’m going to want to experience the film again by way of the app and not the press screener. Apple TV needs to take a note from Netflix when it comes to press screeners. The single best thing that Netflix did was move their screeners from the press site to the app. Greyhound loses so much of the experience because of the video lag when watching on a laptop. Of all the press screening platforms, Apple TV plays home to the frequent buffering of all buffering out there. This isn’t the way to watch a military thriller so audiences should be grateful for viewing through the app.
Greyhound is an intense character study of a man who has the task of escorting ships from one end of the Atlantic to another.
DIRECTOR: Aaron Schneider
SCREENWRITER: Tom Hanks
CAST: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Michael Benz, Tom Brittney, and Elisabeth Shue