Reviewed by: David Cook
Early 1942 in the North Atlantic during World War II
An inexperienced U.S. Navy captain must lead a multi-national Allied merchant ship convoy stalked by Nazi U-boat wolfpacks during the Battle of the Atlantic
Learning to be an effective leader
What is biblical WISDOM?
FAITH in God
About PRAYER in God’s Word
Why aren’t my prayers answered? Answer
What is the FEAR OF THE LORD and why is it very important? Answer
Why should humans give THANKS to their Creator? What does the Bible say about thankfulness? Answer
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
War in the Bible
Armies in the Bible
Tom Hanks … Commander Ernest Krause, USN—commander of the USS Keeling
Stephen Graham … Charlie Cole—Kraus’ second-in-command
Elisabeth Shue … Eva Krause—Ernest’s love interest
Rob Morgan … Cleveland, the head chef
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo … Lopez
Karl Glusman … Eppstein
Tom Brittney … Lieutenant Watson
Lee Norris …
Maximilian Osinski … Eagle
Joseph Poliquin … Forbrick
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See all »
Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
“The only thing more dangerous than the front lines was the fight to get there”
This film is based on the novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester. The screen adaptation was written by Tom Hanks.
Opening this Friday, we get to see the first “big Hollywood film” in forever—not really, but it feels like forever. We’ll get to see the familiar face of Tom Hanks (“Cast Away,” “Big,” “Forrest Gump”). As you might expect, he is getting himself into a dangerous predicament again. We’ve seen this man lost in space, marooned on a deserted island, crashing into the Hudson River, and struggling through many more precarious situations. Irregardless (now accepted as a real word by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary) of his situation, we always root for this popular A-lister. This Friday will be no different. We will cheer for him as Captain Ernest Krause in Apple TV+’s first major film release “Greyhound.” His familiar presence is comforting on screen, but unfortunately, the film is premiering on a less familiar format for blockbuster films—VOD. Even Tom Hanks himself said the transition from a theatrical release to straight-to-streaming is “an absolute heartbreak.” So, now, we will decide whether “Greyhound” can succeed on the limited small-screen.
“Greyhound” is fictional but inspired by true events of World War II. Naval Captain Ernest Krause is guiding Allied ships carrying troops and supplies across the Atlantic Ocean. Once the convoy is beyond air support, they come under assault by German U-boats below the water’s surface. One by one, the helpless ships launch distress rockets into the sky as they are attacked. Greyhound and its crew must act meticulously, avoiding any mistakes, as they navigate feverishly from each life-and-death situation as they attempt to get the convoy safely to their destination.
In its finest moments, “Greyhound” crams its audience into the claustrophobic interior of a naval battleship. The narrow spaces are crowded with young crew members, filled with navigational instruments, and clamoring with vital sounds of communication. The quick moves inside and outside the battleship are as beautiful as they are anxiety-inducing. When the camera is following the characters in these close quarters, it feels real and relentless. These moments of the film are beautiful. I have to assume these stunning images are a result of director Aaron Schneider’s decades of experience as a cinematographer.
Where the film fails on the small-screen format is the God’s-eye-view of the exteriors. A moment after seeing beautiful closeups with our characters, the film will cut to wide, obviously-CGI shots of boats and crashing ocean waves. They look utterly fake—especially in comparison to the authentic interior scenes. Even with the use of these wide exterior shots, the film leaves the audience spatially disoriented. We never understand where one ship is in relation to the other ships. This removes any hope for suspense and replaces it with frustration. There are a couple exciting moments (especially in the third act) that really work, but the majority of the action is confusing and lacks stakes—leaving me disappointed.
Beyond the film and the filmmaking, the story is powerful. Amidst the terror of war, the value of life comes to the forefront—not just the lives of the Allies we briefly encounter but even the lives of the unseen enemy. After sinking a U-boat, a crew member congratulates the Captain, “Fifty less krauts.” The Captain responds, “Fifty souls.”
The Captain is a person of faith. We know that the moment he is introduced—kneeling and praying by his bedside. On his mirror is written the Scripture Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He obviously places his faith in God—the same God of Psalm 139 that King David praises, saying:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God!”
His faith drives him to value his crew. Every man, no matter their rank, is important to the Captain. In return, his crew places their unwavering faith in his leadership. They never question his motives. They simply obey his orders. What a difference from the culture of today, where so many people are acting out of selfish motivation.
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” —Philippians 2:1-4
“Greyhound” is often confusing, and as a result, often frustrating. However, it has several wonderful moments of action, sorrow, and joy. Even as a war movie, it is family friendly—very little profanity or vulgar language, one moment of brief, bloody violence, and zero sexual content. Its positive message far outweighs any negative content. Though I wouldn’t say it’s a great movie, it is certainly worth popping a bowl of popcorn at home and watching with your family. After all, it’s the first new movie in forever—kinda.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.