When you hear the words “a Tom Hanks war movie,” there are certain expectations of quality that flash in your head (with good reason). Perhaps that’s why “Greyhound” feels like such a disappointment. This World War II military action film is one of the most boring war movies I have ever seen.
The screenplay, written by Hanks and based on the novel “The Good Shepherd” by C.S. Forester, recounts the fictional story of Captain Krause (Hanks), a veteran Navy officer who is serving as a first-time captain of a U.S. destroyer. Krause is tasked with protecting a convoy of three dozen ships carrying thousands of soldiers and supplies across the Atlantic. Krause and his men must navigate the treacherous waters for five days with no air support, relying only on the aid of two additional escort ships in an area of the ocean dubbed the “Black Pit.” Things get really bad when the fleet is attacked by Nazi U-boats, and a lengthy battle of ships vs. submarines breaks out.
The story is inspired by events that took place during the Battle of the Atlantic in the early days of WWII, but it’s not a true story. If that wasn’t enough of a bummer, the film is mediocre all around. From the dreadful original score (by Blake Neely) to the weak special effects and dreary cinematography, the movie screams “low budget” in more ways than one. It’s not cinematic, and the production values look and feel cheap. The film is poorly directed (by Aaron Schneider), who seems to hold a pathetic understanding of the architecture of visual excitement and suspense. Hence, the wartime action is mediocre and dull, and the entire project is little more than a crudely edited jump cut fiesta.
Hanks has written his character in such a one-dimensional manner that all Captain Krause really does is quote Bible verses and bark military lingo. The film assumes an advanced knowledge of technical military terms, making it all to easy to check out of the experience. It’s also overly religious, to the point that it could easily be a faith-based film.
“Greyhound” is nothing more than one long, non-exciting battle between a warship and submarines. There are far too many good war movies to spend your time watching than this blunder.