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As cinemas stay shuttered and the blockbuster season becomes a more distant memory by the day, theatrical-bound productions continue to search for solace on the small screen. The result? Some of the biggest names in Hollywood are finding their films released instantly on streaming and on-demand services. When it comes to “big names,” I think it’s fair to say Tom Hanks will fit comfortably this category. And, when I say, “fit comfortably” it’s my subtle way of acknowledging that he may very well be the biggest star on the planet.

Serving as the marquee film on their ever-growing platform, Apple Plus released GREYHOUND on June 12. Starring and written by Hanks, it is the story of one of the most strategic, prolonged, and intense campaigns to ever unfold in the expanse of the Atlantic. Though it certainly seems tailor made for the theater, witnessing it at home was still rewarding. It’s the type of pulse-pounding adventure that begs for the biggest screen, and the most booming surround sound possible, but given the advancements in home technology, the thrills are still voluminous and unrelenting.

Commander Ernest Krause (Hanks) is a quiet, deeply religious man who, at the start of World War II, leads a convoy of ships across the Atlantic. Aside from the hostile waters, he knows that he may have U-boats to contend with, and the horrors of this fact begin to unfold shortly after the convoy is out of range of air support. Thanks to the steady and fearless command of Krause an attacking U-boat is successfully destroyed. The crew is elated to have defeated such a fearsome foe, but shocked when they quickly discover that this initial battle was only the beginning. Within a matter of minutes, they come to the harsh realization that they are on the precipice of an onslaught of unparalleled proportions.

Rarely has the ocean seemed as formidable and frightening as it has within the confines of GREYHOUND. We’ve seen terror on the high seas in various forms for decades. Whether it’s the coastal community terror of JAWS, the mighty wrath of Mother Nature in THE PERFECT STORM, or the formidable iceberg in TITANIC, the vast expanse can be unequivocally formidable. Having said that, I can’t remember the last time I was so shaken by the visuals of the sea. Whether it be the unforgiving waves, the roiling froth, or the deadly submarines lurking below the surface, as the water crashed and bass from the soundbar boomed, it felt as if I was right there on deck. This is a massive credit to director Aaron Schneider and his crew, whose use of sound and music truly made a difference. The intensity was relentless, as there was very little time in-between sequences of calculated chaos. Through it all Hanks remains predictably steady, once again inhabiting a character in a way that makes you forget that your watching an amiable A-lister. A few months ago I absolutely believed he was Mr. Rogers, and this time around, I whole-heartedly thought he was Commander Ernest Krause.

My admiration aside, GREYHOUND may not be for everyone. Hanks script is very heavy on naval commands, and the directions are delivered in repetitive way that may be high on accuracy and complexity, but may not engage all viewers. For me, they merely heightened the realism and intensity of the production, while I can imagine that it may grate the nerves of others. With the exception of one quick flashback of Krause’s time before the boat, there is virtually no character development to speak of. Backstories take a backseat to the action, though not in a manic Michael Bay type of way. While there is plenty of raw power and fury, there is no redundant flash and pizazz. This is a movie that is grounded in strategy, which is what utterly transfixed me, but may not do the same for all.



RUN TIME: 1h 31min

GENRE: Action, Drama, History

STARRING: PTom Hanks, Elisabeth Shue, Stephen Graham

DIRECTORS: Aaron Schneider

WRITERS: Tom Hanks, C.S. Forester


Available to stream through Apple Plus.

Brian Miller