Oscar Nominee: Greyhound

Greyhound (2020)
Dir: Aaron Schneider

What is Greyhound?
That’s the call sign of a ship, the USS Keeling, a destroyer. This wasn’t a real ship, it’s fictional, taken from C.S. Forester’s novel ‘The Good Shepherd’. 

When is it set?
1942 in the midst of the Second World War.

Where are they?
This ship is part of a convoy, escorting Allied ships across the Atlantic. It’s a journey that is only partly aided by air cover, so this ship is tasked with protecting others from submarine attacks. 

Who is the captain?
Tom Hanks plays Commander Krause, though why you’d let him be the captain after his past experiences in other films I don’t know. He’s the focus for most of the film, it hardly breaks from following him as he doesn’t break from commanding day and night.

How could it be better?
Hanks has said that with his military movies he’s ‘not interested in the myths, it’s about the men and women’. So, to me, it feels like, maybe out of a sense of humility and deference, he’s stripped this story of most of the extraneous personal details that would really round out this fictional character. While there are a few details and moments, he’s focused the film more on things that could be held up under scrutiny, realities and details of the battle that could be applied to historical figures as much as Krause. While that maybe makes it an accurate war film, it doesn’t really help it to be the best movie. 

Why is it nominated for an Academy Award?
It’s nominated for ‘Best Sound’, which makes sense, it does sound excellent, there’s an immersive mix of ship, crew, sea, and battle sounds, that help to make this film very immersive and visceral when in the intense battle sequences. The effects aren’t bad either, but to my eye, it wasn’t the best water I’ve ever seen, though it is greatly helped by being filmed aboard real ships. 

Where can this be watched?
Apple bought the distribution rights from Sony so they could have this, with all the Hanks star power, for their AppleTV+ streaming service. I doubt this would have done very well theatrically, even without pandemic closures, but it was a smart move for Apple and one that’s resulted in exactly what they wanted, Academy Award attention that makes their service seem more attractive. Sadly though, it’s not a film I can imagine a general audience will be seeking out or rewatching, though for those who love WWII battleships it will be unmissable. 

While it’s an immersive experience, no doubt accurate in conveying the historical reality of the Battle of the Atlantic, this falls short at fleshing out the characters to make it a movie that’ll appeal to a general audience that wanted Tom Hanks more than WWII action. Hanks film is up against Hanks film at the Academy Awards and I’m certain that the other 4 films in the category have been seen by more voters than this one, so I don’t think it’ll win. 


5 thoughts on “Oscar Nominee: Greyhound

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