Tom Hanks not only stars in this World War II naval thriller, but he also wrote the script, using the novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester to tell the tale of Captain Krause (Hanks) guiding a multi-national convoy of supplies and men across the Atlantic to England.
There are fifty hours when the convoy will be out of range of aircraft protection, making them the perfect target for German U-boats that prowl the area like wolves.
As Krause, his XO (Stephen Graham) and his crew patrol the convoy screening lines, they soon find themselves harassed, harried and attacked by a wolfpack of six subs who know that the convoy’s defenders can’t be everywhere at once.
Struggling with fatigue, the weight of command, and the true horrific nature of war, Krause makes the best decisions he can to guide the convoy to its final port, but how many will survive the crossing?
It’s a fast moving film, and brings the terror of sea warfare to life vividly. It’s easy to watch movies and just be entertained, but when you sit there, and think on the actions that people like these characters had to take to and the tragedy and injury men on all sides suffered, it’s truly horrific. A concept that is perfectly demonstrated when Krause, and the Greyhound crew sink their first sub in the picture; the debris field is terrifying, a stain of blood spreading over the choppy seas.
Hanks’ Krause is a religious man, settling into his first command, and while he’s not quite second guessing himself, as he’s well aware of the image he has to present to the crew (he even hides an injury from them throughout the film), he does wonder about the choices he makes, and what those choices will mean for the convoy.
But no one, not even Krause has time to worry about that, because for fifty hours straight, they will be fighting for their lives, as the Germans hunt them.
Nominated for Best Sound, this one looks and sounds great, and would have been something to see in the theatre (COVID saw it get shifted to Apple+ and released on their platform instead). Though that being said, I would have wanted it to be a little longer; running an hour and half we definitely get to see how naval warfare played out, but I would have liked a film a little longer to seek my teeth into.
I love the film’s attention to detail, the fact that it just throws you right into things, and you either sink or swim with the rest of the convoy. Hanks, as always, is fantastic to watch, and I loved this look at a perspective of the war that I truly hadn’t thought about before.