In the wrath of COVID-19 in the film industry, “Greyhound” is another victim of going straight to streaming, which is its biggest pitfall. That’s not to say that the latest Tom Hanks starring vehicle is a bad film, it’s just one that suffers from not being seen on the big screen. The story follows an inexperienced Navy Captain (Hanks) leading an Allied convey being hunted by Nazi U-Boats across the Atlantic Ocean in World War II. For the film's entire runtime it certainly rattles up the tension, but unfortunately not much else. That certainly doesn’t include the tense, exciting, and sometimes even exhilarating naval battles, but the talking around it.
Now, that’s not to say that the script is necessarily bad, it’s just very obvious to see that Hanks prioritizes military detail over character. There’s a line early in the film where Hanks' character discusses that repetition “brings hell down from on high," which definitely tells you why this detail is needed. I just don’t see how the audience who loves Tom Hanks can get really invested when none of this dialogue is necessarily explained. It certainly doesn’t reduce the film's tension, but just leaves the audience with a question of “why?” After watching the film twice for this review, I realized that there’s only one word to describe this film: one-sided.
While this military jargon is impactful and complex, the highlight of this film is two key details. The naval battles and brisk pace keep a viewer engaged and continuously thrilled for its full runtime. From the moment the opening credits, this is a film that truly never lets up on an audience. In other words, this continuous action makes the film and audience feel like time legitimately flies by. Unfortunately with its brisk pacing, that loses the insight on the characters and doesn’t really let us get to know them. When the ships race and cannons fire it’s a sight to see, in all the best ways, but it's just hard to care when the characters are so thin. Maybe that’s in part on director Aaron Schnider. Prioritizing the action over character, but it just comes off as emotionless. If a movie like this was seen in Dolby surround sound or Imax, there could be a lot of forgiveness in its lack of characterization. What we get is, unfortunately, something that plays best, a forgettable thriller your Dad will watch on TNT on a Sunday afternoon.
If you're a fan of this history, or well-directed CGI style action, then Greyhound can make a fun way to spend 90 minutes. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for anything more, you may be looking for more than what the film offers. Hanks is always a joy to watch on screen and his naive Captain is interesting to watch navigate this sea world. It’s just unfortunate that we never learn more about these types of people. Good action doesn’t make up for a lack of emotion in terms of caring for our characters.
Stream Greyhound now on Apple TV+.