Greyhound (AU - M/UK - 12/US - PG-13)
In a word: Intense


Tom Hanks stars in Greyhound.

As Hollywood attempts to reinvent how movies are seen in a time of widespread cinema shutdowns, streaming platforms have boomed and have released some big budget offerings to draw viewers online. One of the newest streaming services, Apple TV+, has recently added the new Tom Hanks World War II movie, Greyhound, exclusively to its service. 

Captain Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) is the newly-appointed captain of the destroyer known as the Greyhound. His mission, along with three other destroyers, is to protect a convoy of 37 Allied ships as they make the perilous journey across the Atlantic through a dangerous stretch of ocean known as the “Black Pit". Here, for two intense days and nights, they are alone at sea, hunted by a pack of German U-boats. What proceeds is a realistic account of the struggle against an almost invisible enemy and the resulting exhaustion, doubt and stress of this deadly game of cat-and-mouse.

"Greyhound is a tightly focused, immersive portrait of the war at sea, elevated by Hanks' portrayal as a devout believer grappling with the weight of leadership."

It is clear that historical authenticity is a priority in this film and there is an accurate depiction of the tactics and early technology these sailors used. The perspective is rigorously focused on Captain Krause and his point-of-view from the ship, a decision which serves to create an immersive experience of the dangers, triumphs and struggles that are faced at sea.

Based on the 1955 novel, The Good Shepherd, Hanks not only stars but also wrote the screenplay. In doing so, he has preserved the source material’s focus on Captain Krause’s faith. The opening and closing words of the film are an earnest prayer to God, and Krause continues to pray devoutly before every meal while a Bible verse hangs in his quarters - Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever". Krause's faith is put to the test as he faces the challenges of leadership in the midst of battle.

The film shows the tough decisions that a captain must make whether it be concerning the care of his men, the deployment of resources and who to save at sea. Greyhound demonstrates the weight of command and the importance of good leadership. The script focuses almost solely on this captain’s battle against the sea, the U-boats and his own self doubt. There is little character development from the support cast and the antagonist is almost entirely invisible, save for the taunting voices that can be heard on the radio.

Originally intended for a theatrical release in March, Greyhound was rescheduled twice before it was clear that a theatrical release would be impossible and was then acquired by Apple TV+ for $US70 million. With such a budget, the naval battle scenes are vivid, engaging and intensely realistic. Its success will determine whether more theatrical blockbusters will premier on platforms like this.

Ultimately, Greyhound is a tightly focused, immersive portrait of the war at sea, elevated by Hanks' portrayal as a devout believer grappling with the weight of leadership.