The WWII maritime thriller Greyhound, based on C.S. Forester’s 1955 novel The Good Shepherd, gets Tom Hanks’ screenplay writing skills. The lots of commands repeated and nautical terms and naval minutiae make one wondering that the movie had been penned by a retired admiral. The Good Shepherd adaptation enlarges the naval ships on the big screen and has won great appraises.
Greyhound and Tom Hanks’ love for Ships
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Ernest Krause, played by Hanks, receives the command to lead an Allied convoy across the Atlantic during World War II. The movie depicts Krause’s first wartime naval mission that ended up in history being the longest, largest, and most complex naval battle in history: The Battle of the Atlantic. The sweet and swift ride rolls for 91 minutes on the cinema screen, and in fact for only 80 minutes minus the credits.
The brilliant and authentic writing of Tom Hanks and the incredible effort of director Aaron Schneider has brought the movie to another level of appeal. The war and drama movie gives the time of 1942 when the US had just entered the war.
The mission was to escort a 37-vessel convoy headed to Liverpool, England. The vast stretch of the ocean known as “the Black Pit” unfolds various problems and difficulties the mission faced. Fighter planes and their flights were the only support they had in a vast ocean filled German U-boats. Captain Krause was given his first solo assignment in charge of a warship. This means that all this was new for him but of course, he mustn’t show his doubt or fear.
Tom Hank’s Captain Krause and his decisions
All this added to great appeal to the movie. The machinery of command under Hank’s Captain Krause’s bureaucracy and heavily regimented processes became a lifeline of the plot. The Captain adds his charisma to his team through his forceful words. We see the chain of orders and they were moving from one to another as if they were the word of God.
The close-ups of the machines and knobs and other doodads that the sailors have to work with also give a real-time situation play. Along with this, various suggestions, questions, and reservations play their role.
With so much to deal with attention is the key strategy. But this key strategy sometimes backfires too. Krause remained attached to his duty and occupied screen for most of the time. But his companion sailors were also adding their share to lessen the agony and accomplish the mission. Stephen Graham as the second-in-command and Rob Morgan as the head chef, do a lot with very little.
With this all, a framing device and some occasional flashbacks involving Krause and the woman he loves to come off synced with the film’s authenticity.
Greyhound reviews the impacts of individual choices and how things change with it. It gives a rear view of how efficient naval process bends. Greyhound is a perfect blend of opportunities taken and risks mitigated. But it still left many choices. The film has life-and-death decisions.