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NOW SHOWING: Greyhound

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  • NOW SHOWING: Greyhound


    I had been waiting for this movie for a couple of years. I heard about it early because they filmed on the USS Kidd which is a floating museum in Baton Rouge, La. I have been on the ship numerous times and have even slept on board several times. Those overnites were with my History Club. It was always a great experience, other than worrying about what those teenagers might be getting into. Sleeping in a berth on a warship is something every war movie fan should have on their bucket list.


    It took longer to see the film than I anticipated. It’s release was delayed by the pandemic and the studio ended up deciding to junk the theatrical opening and go straight to streaming. It just so happened that the new Apple + TV was hoping to get attention in the crowded streaming market and it bought the film for $70 million (the movie cost $50 million). I bet Apple is praying people like me go beyond the free trial. The movie was directed by Aaron Schneider (his second feature film), but I would guess he deferred to star Tom Hanks. Hanks wrote the screenplay based on the novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester.


    The movie opens with some quotes from Churchill and FDR to set the stage. The U.S. Navy is helping escort troop and supply ships across the Atlantic. The convoys are most vulnerable when they are transiting the “Black Pit” which refers to the area in the North Atlantic where there is no air cover. The USS Greyhound leads a group of four destroyers that are escorting a 37-ship convoy to Liverpool. Commander Krausse (Hanks) is new to the ship and this will be his first escort mission. The movie jumps straight into the “Black Pit” and it does not take long for things to heat up. For the next two days, it will be a cat and mouse game with a wolfpack of German u-boats. Greyhound is in the thick of the fight and by the time it reaches air cover again it will run the gamut of experiences a destroyer might have in the Battle of the Atlantic.


    There is a thriving subgenre of submarine movies, but few movies from above the surface. “Greyhound” differs from the similar “The Enemy Below” because it focuses just on the destroyer. In fact, other than a flashback to Krause proposing to his girlfriend (Elisabeth Shue) which seemed to be thrown in to get a female on the poster, the movie takes place only on the Greyhound. Clocking in at a tidy 91 minutes, the movie eschews character development in favor of almost nonstop action. Even Krausse is a cipher, although we learn he is religious and a cool customer. It may be his first escort mission, but he knows his craft. The movie does not have time for the usual clichés. The crew does not side eye their new captain. He does not have to earn their respect. There is a brief head-scratching moment, but it quickly turns out that Krausse is a u-boat killer. There is no dysfunction as Krausse’s exec Lt. Commander Cole (the reliable Stephen Graham) is loyal and competent. In fact, the whole crew performs well. Hanks’ screenplay makes a point of sub-plotting an African-American messmate, but there is little time to develop anyone. Hanks and the Greyhound dominate.


    In lieu of character development, the movie concentrates on action. It helps if you are knowledgeable about WWII submarine warfare and nautical terminology. The dialogue is heavy on jargon and is not dumbed down for a mass audience. Kudos to screenwriter Hanks for doing his research. I had to do a lot of translating for my wife (ex. starboard is right and port is left). Hanks throws in some cryptic quotes, but the most creative dialogue comes from a u-boat captain that taunts Krausse. It’s a bit cheesy and unrealistic, but fun and reminiscent of an earlier style of war movie and adds that “USA! USA!” emotion. The action is a buffet as we see a variety of combat, but if you know anything about the ferocity of wolfpack attacks, the movie does not steer into outrageous. It all could have happened, just not to one destroyer on one mission. Hey, it’s a movie.

    The CGI is not a problem. I was not distracted by it. It helps that a real Fletcher-class destroyer was used for the interiors and exteriors. Actually, the CGI was mainly used to create the horrific North Atlantic climate conditions the convoys had to battle. This was no pleasure cruise, u-boats or not. Besides giving the recliner-sailing audience a feel for the conditions, the movie is an excellent tutorial on anti-submarine tactics.[FONT="calibri" , sans-serif]
    And a nice homage to the men who risked their lives escorting convoys. I hope some of the veterans of WWII tin cans get to see it in the museum theater at the USS Kidd memorial. By the way, the Royal Navy gets its due and there should be no complaining like with “U-571”.[/FONT]



    The year 2020 really sucks, but it has actually been a pretty good year for war movies. Just in the last week I have seen “The Outpost” and this movie. And I didn’t have to go to a theater. Same could be said for the excellent “Danger Close” and the better-than-expected “Da 5 Bloods”. “Greyhound” is only the third best of that quartet, but it is still a must-see for war movie fans. This movie has no frills. It probably should have been longer to allow for fleshing out of the characters, but it is refreshing to see a movie that concentrates on the warfare aspect of a war movie without going the combat porn route. Get that free trial. Plus Apple TV + has some other good war movies you can watch in a week.[


    GRADE A


  • #2
    Thanks for good review.
    This movie and subject of the USS Kidd and convoys are among articles in current issue of Naval History.
    Some can be accessed at the USNI website, but most require you be a member/subscriber.
    https://www.usni.org/

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    • #3
      Another image from the USNI website/article;



      https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval...r-battle-stars

      Comment


      • #4
        The one thing I appreciated about the movie was their inclusion of all of the combatants. While the escort commander was an American destroyer, the rest of the escort included two British destroyers and a Canadian corvette.

        In fact, the "HMCS Dicky" in the movie was a 3d scan of HMCS Sackville, a restored WW2 corvette moored in Halifax harbor.





        I've been on Sackville and those corvettes are really ridiculously small. The engine "room" was smaller than my master bathroom.

        I wasn't too keen on the scenes with the U-boats shooting it out on the surface, or with the submarine "taunting" the Greyhound, but otherwise it was a decent movie.

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        • #5
          Its good to hear they included Commonwealth ships in the film. There was a lot of internet angst that it would be an all American affair excluding the contributions of the UK and Commonwealth Navies..

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          • #6
            Nice to see the some love being shown to this class of Destroyers. My Grandmother's brother served on one in the Guadalcanal Campaign. He was in the Engine Room when the Japanese Torpedo struck. It was the USS Strong.

            Pruitt
            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

            Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

            by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by G David Bock View Post
              Thanks for good review.
              This movie and subject of the USS Kidd and convoys are among articles in current issue of Naval History.
              Some can be accessed at the USNI website, but most require you be a member/subscriber.
              https://www.usni.org/

              Was a Mahon class destroyer in the book, though they like the Fletcher class seem not to have served much if at all as convoy escorts.
              "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Surrey View Post

                Was a Mahon class destroyer in the book, though they like the Fletcher class seem not to have served much if at all as convoy escorts.
                I think they made it a Fletcher class in the movie because the Kidd was Fletcher class. They were much more likely to catch grief over calling it a Mahan class when visually it was not than from book fans objecting.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Surrey View Post

                  Was a Mahon class destroyer in the book, though they like the Fletcher class seem not to have served much if at all as convoy escorts.
                  Especially in the Atlantic where older ships of destroyer class used, initially, than shifted to destroyer escorts and corvettes sorts as those were built and became available. Bit more so in the Pacific, but then the Japanese submarines focused more on finding and attacking warships than cargo ships/convoys.

                  Fairly common to see Hollywood change ship and aircraft types from book to movie.

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                  • #10
                    Maybe there are no Mahon's left?

                    Pruitt
                    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                      Maybe there are no Mahon's left?

                      Pruitt
                      175 Fletcher's were built 4 are still afloat as displays. 18 Mahan's were built and 6 were lost in the war. I don't think any remain.

                      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                      Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                      • #12
                        I have been looking forward to seeing Greyhound. Glad to hear good things about it.
                        "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                        Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

                        Comment

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