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Tom Hanks continues his role as a WWII historian with “Greyhound,” an intense Aaron Schneider film that barely plays longer than an episode of the Hanks-produced HBO series “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.” At just over 80 minutes if you skip the end credits, fans of this war movie will be drawn to its lean, no-nonsense approach, one that employs more nautical terminology and shouted orders than character detail. For Hanks, who also wrote the film, all you need to know about Commander Ernest Krause is in what he did in service. Sure, Hanks the actor finds a way to inject a subtle glimmer of doubt or fear, but this is one of the most purposeful war movies ever made in how little it offers outside of the naval events that justify its existence. On the one hand, the direct approach is admirable in an era of bloated blockbusters, and there’s something about a simple story of well-told heroism that’s almost refreshing. However, Schneider can’t figure out how to elevate it beyond those minimal intentions, and “Greyhound” starts to become numbing in its tactics, a film whose simplicity feels more shallow than lean. And, yes, there is a difference.

Hanks plays Krause, a career officer who was given command of a destroyer, the USS Keeling (its call sign was Greyhound), which led a convoy of 37 Allied ships across the Atlantic in early 1942. WWII historians know this section of history as the Battle of the Atlantic, a non-stop cat-and-mouse game between Allied ships and German U-boats that spanned the entirety of the war and cost thousands of lives. While Hollywood has produced a great number of films about the ground wars of Europe during World War II, less has been seen about what happened on the Atlantic Ocean, largely because the technical capabilities to really convey the tension of destroyers battling German submarines is relatively new. Perhaps this is what drew Hanks to adapt C.S. Forester’s The Good Shepherd —a sense that he could finally do so in a way that felt genuine.

That last word is clearly the driving focus of both Hanks’ and Schneider’s approach. The character beats in “Greyhound,” including Krause praying over a breakfast provided by head chef Cleveland ( Rob Morgan ) or discussing strategy with second-in-command Charlie Cole ( Stephen Graham ), can’t add up to more than five minutes of screen time. The vast majority of “Greyhound” consists of Krause shouting orders about degrees and rudders and other things that will play to Naval historians way more than the average film watcher. The detail is clearly what drives "Greyhound," and there’s a sense that we haven’t really seen this kind of film before in that no order is skipped over in the screenwriting or editing—in fact, almost every order is repeated from Krause down through the chain of command.

The historical accuracy of “Greyhound” makes it entertaining, but the filmmaking sometimes feels more like a lesson than entertainment. Schneider relies too heavily on his score to raise the stakes and the naval battles aren’t visually interesting enough given how much weight they have to carry. It’s refreshing of Hanks and Schneider to avoid jingoism, but the film's repetitive nature can make it feel distant. In a theater with the right sound system, “Greyhound” might have been more immersive, but it’s a project that seems destined to suffer by being shuffled off to Apple TV+, even for those with the best home sound system. Much has been made in the last few years about Tom Hanks jokingly being America’s Dad. He doesn’t have the same stories of bad on-set behavior as some of his colleagues, knows more about American history than most teachers, and even yells at people to wear masks. He was Mr. Rogers! And “Greyhound” certainly feels like a film tailor-made for dads of a certain generation—people who don’t want anything overly complicated or nuanced in their stories of heroism. It’s a classic story of someone who would never call himself a hero, but most certainly was one to those he protected on his convoy. 

There’s a moment late in "Greyhound" when the naval orders are done, and the human element of Krause’s mission comes cheering to life, nearly saving the film. Not only does Hanks the actor sell this beat with graceful beauty, but it’s really emblematic of the entire reason the project exists and much of Hanks’ career in history-based projects. For years now, Hanks has been reminding us that heroes don’t wear capes and almost never call themselves heroes. Even with the frustrating minimalism of “Greyhound,” it will be a comforting reminder in a time when it feels like we could all use a bit more heroism. And it will probably make you want to call your dad.

Now playing on Apple TV+. 

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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Greyhound movie poster

Greyhound (2020)

Rated PG-13 for war-related action/violence and brief strong language.

Tom Hanks as Commander Ernest Krause, USN

Elisabeth Shue as Eva Krause

Rob Morgan as Cleveland

Stephen Graham as Charlie Cole

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Lopez

Karl Glusman as Eppstein

Tom Brittney as Lt. Watson

Writer (based on the novel "The Good Shepherd" by)

Cinematographer

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‘Greyhound’ Review: At Sea in World War II, With Tom Hanks in Command

Based on a 1955 novel, the film follows a Navy captain who must shepherd men and ships across the perilous Atlantic Ocean to join the war.

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Tom Hanks, right, as the World War II naval commander Ernest Krause in “Greyhound.”

By Glenn Kenny

When the United States entered World War II in 1941, a huge challenge for its military was getting to where the fighting was, safely. Troops and equipment had to be moved over the water, even when protection from airborne forces was sporadic. In the Atlantic, this left Allied convoys vulnerable , for harrowingly long periods, to attack by the advanced German submarines known as U-boats.

“Greyhound,” directed by Aaron Schneider and starring Tom Hanks, who also wrote its screenplay, keeps watch on the Navy Commander Ernest Krause and his men and ships during such a period. And yet “Greyhound” is a surprisingly ordinary picture, given the star’s prior track record in war movies and television shows.

The movie is adapted from “The Good Shepherd,” a 1955 novel by C.S. Forester, a popular writer of naval adventures in the 20th century (Captain Horatio Hornblower was his invention). Forester’s novel is an account of not just the action but of Krause’s shifting interior states as tension and casualties mount.

Played with the sober stalwartness we’ve come to expect of Hanks, Krause is a quiet man of faith whose personal manner is modest and leadership style markedly decisive. He manages to maintain his cool while at the same time projecting a simmering unease, even as a self-described “Wolf Pack” of U-boats bears down on his convoy.

The action, though, takes precedence. And while much of the movie was shot on an actual ship, there is a lot of C.G.I., and a good deal of it is not entirely convincing. “Greyhound” also feels like a movie that was conceived as an epic but could not quite muster the necessary force. As such, it’s ultimately one of Hanks’s most perfunctory pictures.

Greyhound Rated PG-13 for wartime action and language. Running time: 1 hour 31 minutes. Watch on Apple TV+.

Troubled … Tom Hanks in Greyhound.

Greyhound review – Tom Hanks goes to war on the high seas

Hanks plays a ship’s captain under attack from a wolf pack of Nazi U-boats in a tense and poignant second world war drama

T om Hanks has often found that the military or quasi-military uniform of a much-loved authority figure rather suits him: that sensitive, faintly rheumy gaze is often to be seen under a peaked cap or battered helmet. He was the container-ship captain in Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips , the heroic airline pilot in Clint Eastwood’s Sully , the teacher-turned-soldier in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan . Now he is the US naval commander Ernest Krause in this robustly old-fashioned second world war adventure, in which Hanks also makes his screenwriting debut, adapting the 1955 novel, The Good Shepherd by CS Forester.

Hanks plays a captain during the Battle of the Atlantic who has finally been promoted. He has been given command of a destroyer with the call sign “Greyhound” and tasked with protecting vital supply convoys on their way from the US to Britain, through mountainous seas and surrounded by U-boats led by lethally cunning German sadists.

Having bade a rather formal farewell to his wife, Evie (a brief cameo for Elisabeth Shue), Ernest sets sail and quickly finds himself in terrifying danger. An early and flukey success against the enemy leads him to make miscalculations due to inexperience, and soon his convoy is attacked by a sinister wolf pack of vengeful U-boats, who start picking off ships, one by one, with terrifying precision. Their leader (voiced by Thomas Kretschmann) screeches Germany-calling-type taunts over the radio: “Ve hear the screams of your comrades as zey die! You vill die today!”

Hanks’s troubled captain is visibly tired and vulnerable, at one stage poignantly asking for his soft slippers to brought to him to soothe his aching feet. His subordinates, including Charlie Cole ( Stephen Graham ) have affection for their chief, but you can see a tiny flicker of dismay on their obedient faces. Has the old man got what it takes?

Easily the most startling moment comes with the captain making a mortifying mistake about the two galley stewards whose job it is serve him meals: Cleveland (Rob Morgan) and Pitts (Craig Tate) are the only black crew members. In his exhaustion and distraction, the captain calls one by the other’s name. This blunder is of course not presented as evidence of his callousness, still less of systemic racism, just the understandable lapse of a thoroughly decent guy under unimaginable pressure. Hanks is the only actor (and screenwriter) in Hollywood who could possibly have got away with this, although I can’t see him or anyone else risking such a line right now.

Greyhound is a very traditional and indeed traditionalist movie, with Hanks beginning and ending his first day in battle kneeling in prayer. Yet the action itself sticks largely and somehow expressionistically to the tense, claustrophobic world of the bridge with the captain barking all manner of opaque naval jargon. In some ways it resembles a kind of ocean-going stage play: the other, distant ships and the vast heaving grey sea are rendered digitally. But it’s effective and watchable, with some genuinely tense moments as Hanks has to make split-second decisions about two Nazi torpedoes heading his way from different directions, and then desperately bellow his orders over the wind and rain. He is very much the sort of mythical figure that Walter Mitty might imagine himself being.

I’m also a sucker for some old-school cat-and-mouse strategy between allied ships and German U-boats and this doesn’t disappoint. There are moments with Hanks looking urgently into the distance through his captain’s binoculars, which reminded me of Jack Hawkins in The Cruel Sea.

Death is the most difficult thing to represent in a war movie, or any movie. Three sailors are killed in battle, and Hanks and director Aaron Schneider contrive a burial-at-sea sequence halfway through, which is notable for one tiny touch of what might be called mythic insubordination. Just as a shrouded body is about to be solemnly dropped from its flag-wrapping over the side into the sea, it gets tangled. We get an infinitesimal cutaway to Hanks’s alarmed face: is this sad moment going to turn into farce? But in the next moment, the problem is righted and the ceremony goes ahead.

Another sort of movie might have put far more emphasis on things like this. As well as death and tragedy, war is full of absurdity, indignity, chaos, all sorts of bizarre and embarrassing things that don’t get mentioned in the official record. Greyhound is content with its keynote of sombre reverence.

Greyhound is available on Apple TV from 10 July.

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‘Greyhound’ Review: Tom Hanks Is the Captain Now in Bland WWII Destroyer Drama

By Peter Travers

Peter Travers

If a patriotic, proudly square tale of military courage under fire (minus the Trumpian jingoism) is what you’re looking for in these pandemic times, Greyhound (available on Apple+ starting July 10th) should float your boat. It’s early WWII action in the North Atlantic, with Tom Hanks tackling the role of Captain Ernest Krause, a Navy career officer taking his first command. His vessel: the USS Keeling, a Fletcher-class destroyer with the codename Greyhound. Krause’s mission is escorting and protecting an Allied convoy of 37 troop and supply ships that must dodge a wolf pack of German U-boats to reach its destination in Liverpool. That requires crossing the notoriously dangerous “Black Pit,” a stretch of ocean so remote that it can’t be protected by air cover for these two days of travel time. Directed with diligence but little flair by Aaron Schneider ( Get Low ), this tension-on-the-high-seas drama covers those 50 desperate hours.

Hanks, who also wrote the screenplay, loves this kind of authentic military adventure (see Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, The Pacific ). Here’s the thing: Greyhound isn’t factual. It was dreamed up by C.S. Forester for his 1955 novel, The Good Shepherd. But the Battle of the Atlantic, which ran from 1939 till the Nazi defeat in 1945? That was real as hell. And as the screenwriter, leading player and head of the production company (Playtone) behind the film, Hanks adheres to the logistics of war and the can-do attitude of the soldiers who fought it.

All of which is admirable, as far as it goes. The trouble does not emerge from the movie’s noble intentions, but from the stodgy manner in which they play out. Set in February of 1942, the film feels like it could have been made that same year.  Hanks, portraying a man of faith on the verge of losing faith in himself, is the one element in the film that raises the bar. In a hotel, just before he ships out, Krause meets up with his lady love Evelyn (an underused Elizabeth Shue). She gifts him with monogrammed slippers, but declines his offer of marriage for another time when war doesn’t wreak havoc with relationships. His hurt is visible only in a flicker. This is a man who carries on.

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That he does. As German subs start picking off his ships — the outwardly exciting scenes of mortar fire and torpedo ducking are hobbled by some crudely obvious CGI — Krause feels the weight of his inexperience. On the radio, the voice of a German officer (Thomas Kretschmann) spews out threats (“You vill die toda-ayyy”). But if Krause is rattled, he purposely doesn’t show it. Through subtle shifts in posture and vocal inflection, Hanks reveals the emotional toll his insecurities are taking on his command and his own increasingly fragile ego.

The tension Krause feels in making snap, life-or-death decisions is noticed but not remarked on by his navigator Cole (the estimable Stephen Graham). It’s the words that are unspoken that that are unmistakably felt. Hanks’ script, his first on a film he didn’t also direct (see: the sparkling That Thing You Do, the flat Larry Crowne ), leans heavily on Navy jargon, but less so on character development. Rob Morgan gets in a few innings as George Cleveland, the black galley steward who sees the fault lines in the skipper when he asks to wear Evelyn’s monogrammed slippers to ease the ache in more than his feet. But the young crew members, including one played by the star’s son, Chet Hanks, tend to get lost in the bigger picture. At a scant 90 minutes, Greyhound could have used additional time to stretch out, dig deeper and bring us close to more than one man on board. The subtlety of the Hanks performance, amid the chaos of war, is what carries the day.

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‘greyhound’: film review.

Tom Hanks wrote and stars in the World War II nautical action drama 'Greyhound,' about an Allied convoy crossing the North Atlantic under attack from Nazi U-boats, streaming on Apple TV+.

By David Rooney

David Rooney

Chief Film Critic

'Greyhound' Review

As a producer, actor, writer and director, Tom Hanks has shown deep admiration for the courage of World War II Armed Forces, in work encompassing Saving Private Ryan , TV projects Band of Brothers , The Pacific and the upcoming Masters of the Air , as well as the documentaries He Has Seen War and Beyond All Boundaries . The theme of American valor and heroism also has been a thread through many of his roles. So it’s no surprise that Hanks was drawn to adapt and star in a screen version of C.S. Forester’s 1955 historical maritime novel,  The Good Shepherd .

Roll your eyes about the return to familiar territory if you must, but Greyhound is a taut action thriller that exerts a sustained grip. Originally scheduled for theatrical release from Sony in June, the project is one of a handful of star vehicles sidelined by the COVID-19 shutdown that have bounced to Apple TV+ , where it should find an appreciative audience.

Release date: Jul 10, 2020

Director Aaron Schneider, like Hanks, is not new to WWII-related material, having won an Oscar for his 2003 short film Two Soldiers , a home-front drama adapted from William Faulkner’s story about Mississippi brothers whose patriotic spirit is stirred by the shock of Pearl Harbor. Schneider and Hanks have fashioned a robust, old-fashioned entertainment infused with sufficient integrity to counter its inevitable turn into sentimental nobility in the concluding act.

Hanks milks that familiar moment to a movie-ish excess slightly out of step with the economy of the rest of the film, accompanied by the requisite orchestral swell. But unimpeachable sincerity has long been a signature of the veteran actor’s career, and that quality prevents Greyhound from ever slipping into the vanity-project trap. This is one of Hanks’ more subdued recent performances, unlike his galvanizing work in, say,  Captain Phillips or The Post . But playing Captain Ernest Krause, he embodies the selfless, clenched-jaw purposefulness of the Greatest Generation with persuasive conviction and moving humility.

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As screenwriter, Hanks strips down the story to its essence, largely dispensing with both preamble and post-ordeal exhalation, focusing almost entirely on the nail-biting experience of the hellish voyage. The movie fully immerses the audience in battle, owing something to the intensity of both the D-Day landing in Saving Private Ryan and the combat sequences in Dunkirk . I confess I approached it with a certain weariness, expecting Sully on a boat, but found myself swiftly reeled in.

The minimal prelude is a single San Francisco scene in December, 1941, in which Krause suggests it’s time he and his late-in-life sweetheart Evelyn ( Elisabeth Shue , in what’s virtually a cameo) became engaged. She puts him off until his return, quietly conveying the steep odds against him surviving the dangerous journey. His long-stalled first commission to command a ship is one of a wave of such hurried elevations in rank after Pearl Harbor for veteran U.S. Navy officers who have never seen combat. An early shot of Krause praying in his cabin signals both his faith and his fear.

Krause is captain of the Fletcher-class destroyer code-named Greyhound, leader of three other light warships assigned to protect a convoy of 37 merchant vessels carrying troops and crucial supplies across the North Atlantic to England. The action is concentrated on the middle stretch of the journey known as the “Black Pit,” where surveillance aircraft from both sides are out of range, putting the zig-zagging boats at the mercy of German submarines that lurk in a wolf-pack blockade.

The movie charts that treacherous crossing over three days, broken down according to watch hours, at a time when the stealthy U-boats were more sophisticated than the Navy sonar equipment used to detect them. The elimination of almost all the standard scenes of reprieve or personal backstories — aside from Krause’s brief memory flashes of his last encounter with Evelyn — makes for an exciting open-sea combat experience.

Director Schneider and nimble cinematographer Shelly Johnson shot the film on a decommissioned, fully restored WWII-era destroyer that serves as a museum in the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge. But the bulk of the action unfolds in the close quarters of the boat’s pilothouse and bridge, recreated on a soundstage set, which fits the claustrophobic nature of the drama. The seascapes and battle scenes rely on solidly convincing CGI, with frequent panoramic and overhead drone shots expanding the visual scope. Aside from the warm tones of the Evelyn scene, the color palette is heavy on grays, muted blues and greens, appropriate to a voyage in which the menace is deadliest at night.

The film is essentially a character study of the stern but fair-minded Krause, so while other men register in his orbit — including executive officer Cole (Stephen Cole), gunnery officer Lopez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and sonar operator Bushnell (the lead’s son Chet Hanks) — this is very much a portrait of a first-time captain wrestling with self-doubt over his ability to keep his crew alive. From the moment the Greyhound first encounters the enemy, the men on board become a rattled collective rather than a group of individuals, but shortage of character definition is somehow never a drawback.

The one character other than Krause who makes a lingering impression is Cleveland (Rob Morgan), one of the Black messmates in the segregated crew. His constant concern that the captain needs sustenance becomes a recurring motif as he delivers tray after tray of food, all of them sent back with only the coffee consumed. There’s no attempt at revisionist, period-inauthentic racial attitudes here. But both Hanks and Morgan skillfully underplay the mutual respect between the two men at opposite ends of the rank chain, yielding a solemnly affecting interlude midway through the action.

The combat sequences come thick and fast in the hands of editors Sidney Wolinsky and Mark Czyzewski. These cover the Greyhound running down a U-boat; the confusion of friendly fire under the cloak of darkness; the momentary elation of a successful hit on a German vessel; and dodging torpedoes with some frantic swerves and panicked “Hard rudder left!”-type commands — the alarming tilt of the ship at one point makes you hold your breath.

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One hairy moment involves a near collision with a merchant ship from the convoy. Another intense sequence results when the sonar picks up a German decoy designed to eat up the U.S. boat’s limited supply of depth charges and monopolize the Americans’ attention while the German fleet targets another ship. Terrific underwater footage follows the accelerated path of torpedoes and bomb drops. A heavy exchange of deck gunfire results in casualties (the terror of bullets slicing through the air is rendered with vivid force in the expert sound design), and Krause insists on a full-company funeral service at sea in dress uniforms.

The sense of navigating infested waters in near blindness is periodically underlined by communications between the Greyhound and the other Allied Forces boats, with each break in radio silence at risk of being picked up by the Germans. While it’s doubtless true to military history, the one element that comes off a little hammy is the psychological-warfare transmissions of a German submarine commander identified as Grey Wolf (voiced by Thomas Kretschmann), gloating over the death count and snarling taunts like “The Grey Wolf is so very hungry,” or “The sea favors the Grey Wolf on the hunt, not the Hound on the run.”

By contrast, the use of Blake Neely’s ominous score shows admirable restraint for the most part, its subtle strains blending with the ping of sonar equipment and using drumming to inject urgency as the situation grows more perilous.

To Hanks’ credit, his screenplay mostly downplays the heroics while fully acknowledging the bravery and sacrifice of the men who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic, a WWII campaign relatively underrepresented in movies. (The Oscar-nominated 1981 feature that put director Wolfgang Petersen on the map, Das Boot , viewed the conflict from the German side.) With thorough verisimilitude, Greyhound depicts just one crossing among countless over a six-year period in which 3,500 ships carrying millions of tons of cargo were sunk and 72,200 souls were lost.

The film closes with archival footage of real convoy ships and troops over the end credits, summoning a dignified patriotism that should play well to domestic audiences presently starved for moral uplift.

Production companies: Playtone, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Stage 6 Films, in association with Bron Creative, Zhengfu Pictures, Sycamore Pictures, FilmNation Entertainment Distributor: Apple TV+ Cast: Tom Hanks, Elisabeth Shue, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Josh Wiggins, Tom Brittney, William Pullen, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Karl Glusman, Chet Hanks, Jimi Stanton, Matthew Helm, Devin Druid Director: Aaron Schneider Screenplay: Tom Hanks, based on the novel The Good Shepherd , by C.S. Forester Producer: Gary Goetzman Executive producers: Aaron Ryder, Steven Shareshian, Alison Cohen, Michael A. Jackman, Milan Popelka, David Coatsworth, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Richard McConnell, Anjay Nagpal, Han Sanping, Alex Zhang, Ben Nearn, Tom Rice Director of photography: Shelly Johnson Production designer: David Crank Costume designer: Julie Weiss Music: Blake Neely Editors: Sidney Wolinsky, Mark Czyzewski Visual effects supervisor: Nathan McGuinness Visual effects producer: Mike Chambers Casting: Francine Maisler

Rated PG-13, 92 minutes

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Intense WWII combat in the Atlantic; brief language.

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What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Greyhound is a World War II drama starring Tom Hanks . It tells the story of a days-long battle between Nazi submarines and a convoy of Allied ships carrying essential arms and supplies across the Atlantic Ocean to England. The action is fierce and frequent, and suspense is high. Torpedoes, machine gun fire, and artillery hit their marks. Ships and U-boats catch fire and explode. The filmmakers have opted to register the loss of life on the faces of the mostly very young men who watch in fear and horror from a distance, rather than via those being injured and killed. One wounded sailor is shown, and three flag-draped bodies are buried at sea. Language includes one use each of "hell," "damn," and "f--k" (after which the speaker immediately apologizes). The film makes a strong statement about the tragedy of war, as well as about integrity, teamwork, compassion, and grace under fire.

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Good movie and fine for kids, what's the story.

GREYHOUND (the name of the film's ship) is told from the viewpoint of Captain Krause ( Tom Hanks , who also wrote the screen adaptation). In his first assignment in charge, Krause is the captain of this U.S. Navy Destroyer, in service as escort to a large convoy of Allied ships carrying supplies and armaments across the Atlantic in early 1942. Based upon C.S. Forster's novel The Good Shepherd , the movie is a fictionalized account of one event in the Battle of the Atlantic, a conflict that began in 1940 and continued through 1943, the longest ongoing battle of WWII. In an area of the Atlantic called "The Black Pit," the convoy is out of range of friendly air cover and must face off with a Nazi "wolf pack," a fleet of deadly Nazi submarines that patrol the area. In a matter of only a few days, the clashes are frequent and deadly. Aware of the great responsibility he carries, the captain lets his spiritual faith guide him and calls upon an enormous reserve of knowledge and skill to lead his crew on this dangerous mission.

Is It Any Good?

Suspense accelerates, the stakes get higher, and the explosions gets closer in this visually artful, wonderfully performed look into the hearts and souls of WWII's fighting Navy service members. Greyhound can be added to the expanding catalog of Tom Hanks' "everyman" movies in which someone who at first seems ordinary and unassuming is called upon to be indomitable and rises to the challenge. As in Captain Phillips , Sully , Charlie Wilson's War , Bridge of Spies , and more, Hanks brings quiet truth and emotion to his characters. Director Aaron Schneider and his team deliver a timeless story about the strain and poignance of war. There's no pause for backstories; characters develop in the moment. There's no place for artificial conflict among team members; everyone works together. Other than the cryptic scenes in which Krause's significant other is introduced and quickly dispensed with and the arch radio transmissions from a Nazi tormenter, the movie rings true.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about the violence shown in Greyhound . How much actual human death is shown during the battle sequences? Why do you think the filmmakers chose to focus on those witnessing the tragic events rather than those being killed and wounded? Was their concept effective? Why or why not? Did you feel the horrors of war as it unfolded?

Captain Krause was shown as a religious man. How did that aspect of his life help define his character? What valuable character strengths does the captain rely upon to lead his crew? Pick one of those traits and show why it was important.

Were you surprised by the ages of most of the Navy service members on the Greyhound ? Did it feel realistic? Many other war movies show the combatants as fully grown adults. How does the portrayal of the very young make the misery of war even more poignant?

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2020, War/History, 1h 32m

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Greyhound 's characters aren't as robust as its action sequences, but this fast-paced World War II thriller benefits from its efficiently economical approach. Read critic reviews

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reviews movie greyhound

"Patriotic Christian War Story"

reviews movie greyhound

GREYHOUND: A Patriotic Christian War Story That Will Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat! GREYHOUND offers one of those rare movie experiences that's filled with action, suspense AND faith! Posted by Movieguide on Thursday, July 16, 2020

reviews movie greyhound

What You Need To Know:

Miscellaneous Immorality: German sub captain taunts Allied sailors three times over the radio.

More Detail:

GREYHOUND is a war movie starring Tom Hanks as the first-time captain of an American Destroyer protecting a convoy of merchant ships and troop ships heading for England in February 1942 during World War II. GREYHOUND is a satisfying, suspenseful war drama, and Hanks portrays a Christian hero who prays throughout the movie, but there’s some brief foul language and action violence involving sea battles with submarines.

With recordings of Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt on the soundtrack, the movie informs viewers that after America’s entrance into the war, American and British battleship destroyers regularly escorted merchant ships full of troops, supplies, ammunition, war material, and fuel across the Atlantic Ocean from America to Great Britain. However, during the trip, there was a lengthy period where the air cover for these convoys was out of range. So, the convoys had to fend off by themselves packs of German submarines called wolf packs. The area where this occurred was called the “Black Pit.”

Cut to Captain Krause of the American destroyer Greyhound, the lead destroyer of four destroyers, escorting one such convoy in February 1942. It’s the captain’s first command. Captain Krause is a man of faith. After saying his morning prayer, he recalls the last time he saw the woman he loves in San Francisco. He wants to marry her, but she insists they wait until after the war. After exchanging Christmas presents, Krause tells her he will be training in the Caribbean for a month before leading his first convoy. He assures her he will be thinking of her constantly.

Back at the convoy, the time comes when the convoy’s air support has to return to base because the convoy is going out of range. The convoy won’t have any more air cover for 50 hours, when air support from England will greet them.

Sure enough, almost as soon as the air cover is gone, Greyhound discovers it’s being shadowed by a German sub. Tense moments ensue as the sub closes in for an attack, but Captain Krause and his men are able to destroy the sub, although all that is left is the oil slick that results from the sub being destroyed.

No sooner have they destroyed the German sub that the Greyhound gets a distress call from the other three destroyers that six more German subs have been detected. The Greyhound resumes battle stations and joins the other three destroyers trying to keep track of the enemy subs. The German subs repeatedly go on the attack. They manage to destroy several merchant ships and cripple one of the destroyers. The tension increases exponentially as the remaining destroyers, including the Greyhound, deplete most of their depth charges.

Based on a 1955 novel, GREYHOUND is a satisfying, suspenseful, inspiring war movie. It puts viewers in the middle of a Naval captain’s efforts to lead his crew and protect other ships from dangerous enemy submarines. As such, it depicts the claustrophobic nature of making split-second command decisions affecting hundreds of lives. Most of the times, those decisions are successful, but sometimes they’re not. Tom Hanks portrays this taciturn but commanding character as compassionate but focused on his job. There are cracks in the good captain, however, especially when he realizes he’s made a bad decision that puts more lives at stake.

The American captain prays throughout the movie, even when he has a chance to grab only a sandwich during the intense 72 hours in which the movie takes place. In one scene, the captain also reads the Protestant prayer for burials at sea, which refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ and talks about the “general Resurrection of the last day,” when “the sea shall give up her dead, and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in Him shall be changed and made like unto His glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.” Finally, several times during the movie, messages between the destroyers tell the others “Godspeed.” As a result, GREYHOUND has a strong, inspiring Christian, moral, patriotic worldview.

MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older pre-adolescent children because of some brief foul language and intense, suspenseful sea battles. The action includes multiple explosions, submarine attacks involving torpedoes, depth charges and naval artillery being fired at enemy submarines, loss of life, and many close calls. In one scene, a large merchant ship suddenly appears and almost crashes into the Greyhound destroyer.

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Screen Rant

Greyhound review: tom hanks wants to talk to you about wwii (again).

What you end up with is a better history lesson than drama, in spite of the obvious care with which Hanks brings the story of Greyhound to life.

In a piece he wrote for Empire Magazine about his new film Greyhound (which he both scripted and stars in), Tom Hanks explained his continuing fascination with stories about WWII, saying they touch upon timeless issues of "heartbreak and worries of I don't know." Inadvertently, Hanks may've also pinpointed the biggest problem with the project: it's more interested in teaching viewers about Naval warfare and the challenges of early radar than exploring its protagonist's self-doubt and insecurities. And while the movie's sea battles are elegantly staged by cinematographer-turned director Aaron Schneider (helming his second feature here, more than ten years after his acclaimed debut with  Get Low ), the absence of a compelling character throughline makes it difficult to become emotionally invested in their outcome. What you end up with is a better history lesson than drama, in spite of the obvious care with which Hanks brings the story of Greyhound to life.

Adapted from C.S. Forester's 1955 novel The Good Shepherd , the film stars Hanks as Ernest Krause, a seasoned Naval officer who's granted command of the destoyer USS Keeling (call sign Greyhound) shortly after the U.S. enters WWII. Tasked with leading a group of Allied ships across the North Atlantic, it falls to Krause and his men to protect the vessels from the wolfpack of German U-boats hot on their tails. As they enter the Mid-Atlantic Gap aka. the Black Pit (an unprotected area beyond the reach of the RAF's aircraft), the Greyhound's crew must not only battle their enemies, but also the treacherous conditions of the ocean and the sheer exhaustion of staying on their feet as they race non-stop to make it to the other side of the Pit before they've overwhelmed.

Related: Apple TV+ is Most Divisive Streaming Service

Unlike Forester's novel, Greyhound barely scatches the surface of who Krause even is, much less touches upon his backstory. There are nods to him being devout and the woman he loves (Elisabeth Shue, sadly wasted here), but otherwise the film struggles to dig beneath his stoic exterior. His inexperience - a major element of Forester's book - is instead presented as a late reveal meant to reframe the narrative, but the lack of setup robs it of any real impact. With so much of the movie devoted to showing how a WWII-era warship operates, there's little room for development when it comes to the supporting players either, which is a shame given the great actors in the cast (Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo). Both Saving Private Ryan and the Hanks-produced Band of Brothers and The Pacific miniseries showed it's possible to balance attention to historical detail with captivating stories about officers overcoming various psychological and physical hurdles in WWII, but Greyhound is too fixated on the former, to its detriment.

At the same time, Hanks has clearly done his research, as evidenced by the sheer amount of Naval jargon in his script. That sense of verisimilitude is further enhanced by Schneider and his team's work behind the camera. A significant chunk of Greyhound was shot on a pair of real-life vessels (the HMCS Montréal and USS Kidd), allowing it to readily approximate the cramped sensation of being aboard an antiquated destroyer. The action sequences are equally tight and engaging, with Schneider and his DP Shelly Johnson (no stranger to WWII, having shot Captain America: The First Avenger ) painting the spectacle in appropriately chilly hues of grey, black, and blue, and Blake Neely's riveting score serving as accompaniment. It's only when the film's actors are placed against the CGI backdrop of the Black Pit that Greyhound 's budgetary limits begin to show, even with the added realism of water continuously splashing the camera lens.

To its credit, Greyhound more or less does what Hanks feels good WWII stories ought to do: encouraging people to not give up in the darkest of times, even when they're pushed to the point of exhaustion. It's a simple message, but certainly one that's relevant for anyone who's just trying to make it out of 2020 in one piece. Still, it's readily apparent why Sony delayed Greyhound more than a year from its original release date in March 2019 before sending it over to Apple in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: it's not a strong enough character piece to compete in awards season, but it's also too terminology-heavy and docudrama-like to fully work as a summer thriller. Under the circumstances, though, it's decent enough to merit a watch if you already have an Apple TV+ subscription... or, like Hanks, just can't seem to get enough WWII pop culture in general.

NEXT: Watch the Greyhound Trailer

Greyhound  is now streaming on Apple TV+. It is 91 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for war-related action/violence and brief strong language.

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Greyhound Proves That Tom Hanks Loves Ships More Than Anyone Else Loves Ships

Portrait of Bilge Ebiri

Well, somebody’s been brushing up on their naval jargon. Tom Hanks actually wrote the screenplay for the WWII maritime thriller Greyhound , adapting it from C.S. Forester’s 1955 novel The Good Shepherd , and the film is so packed with commands repeated and nautical terms and naval minutiae that you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been penned by a retired admiral. This is, by and large, a good thing: Greyhound (which hits Apple TV+ this week) won’t blow any holes in the solemn ship of state that is modern cinema — it’s a sweet, swift 91 minutes long, and only about 80 if you skip the credits — but it’s a surprisingly immersive affair, and the authenticity writer-star Hanks and director Aaron Schneider bring to it is a huge part of its appeal. (Let’s give plenty of credit to Forester, too: I haven’t read the novel, but since he also wrote the Captain Horatio Hornblower series, it’s fair to assume he knew his stuff.)

The film takes place in 1942, during the Battle of the Atlantic, not long after the U.S.’s entry into the war, and follows the lead destroyer (call sign: “Greyhound”) in a quartet of warships escorting a 37-vessel convoy headed to Liverpool, England. Fighter planes and their flight ranges at the time being what they are, the ships only have air support at the beginning of the trip and at the end; the vast stretch of ocean they cross in between is known as “the Black Pit,” and it’s filled with German U-boats intent on sinking them (and, occasionally, taunting them). Hanks’s Captain Krause has just been given his first solo assignment in charge of a warship, so this is all new to him — but of course, he mustn’t show his doubt or fear.

In that sense, the machinery of command, with its bureaucracy and heavily regimented processes, becomes something of a lifeline for him. Krause has to be a cog in a wheel, even though he is the biggest cog there. We see how everything he says to his men is repeated by others, the orders moving down the line as if they were the word of God. We also see all the other stuff he has to deal with, from the fuel reporting paperwork to managing the ship’s depth charge stockpiles. The film clearly loves all that detail. Who has to leave a room when the captain is being given a report? When do you switch out your hat for a helmet? What determines whether a sonar works properly or not? We also get loving close-ups of the machines and knobs and other doodads that the sailors have to work with. (This is prime Dad material; Hanks even changes out of his boots and into slippers at one point.)

Such attention to detail can occasionally backfire, too — as the details can take over from the characters. We get a lot of Krause, but we don’t get much of a sense of the rest of the crew, aside maybe from Stephen Graham as the second-in-command and Rob Morgan, doing a lot with very little, as the head chef. (Hanks’s rapper son Chet Hanks is apparently in this thing too, but I couldn’t make him out among the anonymous sea of youngish faces.) Meanwhile, a framing device and some occasional flashbacks involving Krause and the woman he loves (played by Elisabeth Shue) come off as particularly generic in light of the rest of the film’s authenticity. And the various transmissions that arrive via the ship’s radio have a weirdly cartoonish feel to them, as if they were rushed in post. The German sub goofily taunting the Americans, even mock-wailing at various points, I can buy, but we also hear some hilariously stiff-upper-lip British officers on the radio, and suddenly it feels like we’ve been yanked out of this otherwise fully realized world into an awkward role-playing game. But these are mostly minor issues.

Greyhound is at its best when we see how the otherwise efficient naval process bends, and the effects that individual choices have on it. Krause has to make lots of life-and-death decisions: whether to stick with the convoy or to pursue a sub that’s attacked them; whether to stop and gather the survivors of a ship that went down or rush to the aid of another besieged vessel. He also has to live with the consequences of those decisions, which sometimes conflict with his humanity (and, as the film makes clear, his Christianity). Looking over the oil slick left on the surface of the ocean from the first sub he destroys, Krause can’t help but notice that the black oil has a reddish hue to it, as if the sea has filled with blood. “Congratulations! 50 less Krauts,” an underling crows. “50 souls ,” Krause corrects him. And the Atlantic can get curiously crowded when a whole bunch of ships engage one another: At one point, Greyhound has a harrowingly close call with one of its own merchant ships; later, they have to steer to avoid getting hit by the gunfire of another battle happening not too far away from them. These all prompt their own decisions, and orders. (They also prompt some terrific sound design. If you have a decent system at home, crank Greyhound up and enjoy the way it rolls and rumbles your floors and walls.)

Krause is a good part for Hanks, not just because it’s another entry in his pantheon of Decent Men, but also because the film shows the limits of decency when it comes to combat: There isn’t always a right answer to the many dilemmas he is faced with — which is, ironically, why decency matters, because you have to be able to live with the consequences of your choices. Despite its slender run time and relatively spare narrative, Greyhound lingers in the mind thanks to Hanks’s presence. Come for the naval geekery, stay for the humanity.

*A version of this article appears in the July 20, 2020, issue of  New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

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Greyhound Review

Greyhound

After an-on-the nose prologue and a flashback to Krause sharing Christmas presents with girlfriend Evie (Elisabeth Shue) — she gets a dopey Christmas decoration, he gets monogrammed slippers — the film throws us into the heat of the battle with Krause and his crew immediately fending off an attack from a German U- boat. Not spoon-feeding the audience, Hanks’ script admirably throws a lot of naval jargon at you and hopes you’ll stay afloat. This sustained action sequence sets the template for the action to follow — close-ups of Hanks looking out of a window; a tumultuous CGI sea; lots of scurrying around in confined spaces; and a percussive insistent score which includes a whiny musical motif every time a German sub appears — but it feels fresh to have the cat-and-mouse antics of a ship vs. sub chess game played out above water for a change. And don’t worry, Greyhound does have the Ping! Ping! Ping! sounds due any WWII movie set on the high seas.

The film is peppered with telling titbits of WWII detail.

The subsequent action plays out over the next 24 hours as Krause and co have to escort the convoy to Liverpool. Rather than overblown heroics, the focus here is on the day-to-day realities faced by these men. So we get faulty equipment (windscreen wipers, sonar), a fuel and depth-charge shortage, an oil tanker about to blow and a near-collision with a U-Boat. You can see the effect Hanks and director Aaron Schneider , whose last directorial effort was 2009s Get Low , are going for — an immersive, no context tour-of-duty onboard a besieged warship — but it doesn’t have that filmmaking excitement of, say, Das Boot . You rarely feel Hanks and co are actually at sea and the film lacks the tactile texture to make the interior of the ship a character in itself.

Still, there are telling top shots of the US vs. Germany battle that graphically bring the combat to life — at one point the camera heads dramatically from the battle to sweep up into the sky to see the Northern lights. The film is peppered with telling titbits of WWII detail; the Germans use a decoy device called a pillenwerfer to mess with the onboard US sonar; the slick of oil that reveals they hit their sub-aqua target; the Germans taunting the Americans by hacking into the comms system (“The grey wolf is so very hungry”). There is also a hint here of the different kind of War film Greyhound might have been: as Krause presides over a burial at sea, there is a distinctly human moment when the body refuses to slide gracefully into the ocean.

Indeed, it is humanity that is missing here. Characters are introduced but disappear. Hanks is surrounded by a clutch of young American actors playing various Ensigns and Boatswains, but none of them register in any meaningful way. Stephen Graham as Kraus’ right-hand man similarly has little to do except draw straight lines with a ruler, but scores in a debate about whether a distress signal will reveal their frailties to the Germans. But the biggest problem is Krause himself. If Krause has inner conflicts about his decisions, neither Hanks the writer or actor articulates them in any meaningful way. Hanks is always watchable, but Krause remains impenetrable. if the characters had been given a little more time to breathe and interact, Greyhound might have earned a 21-gun salute.

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COMMENTS

  1. Greyhound movie review & film summary (2020)

    The historical accuracy of "Greyhound" makes it entertaining, but the filmmaking sometimes feels more like a lesson than entertainment. Schneider relies too heavily on his score to raise the stakes and the naval battles aren't visually interesting enough given how much weight they have to carry.

  2. Greyhound

    Greyhound is an example of how riveting World War II movies can still be over seven decades after the fighting ceased. And with Tom Hanks leading the way in every sense, you know you're in good...

  3. Greyhound (2020)

    This movie is trying to be simple, realistic, and matter of fact. It mostly achieves it by not explaining the military jargon and allowing the audience to figure it out. My biggest issue is the sound design. It's trying too hard especially the whale noise coming with the German submarines.

  4. 'Greyhound' Review: At Sea in World War II, With Tom Hanks in Command

    "Greyhound" also feels like a movie that was conceived as an epic but could not quite muster the necessary force. As such, it's ultimately one of Hanks's most perfunctory pictures. Greyhound...

  5. Greyhound review

    Greyhound is a very traditional and indeed traditionalist movie, with Hanks beginning and ending his first day in battle kneeling in prayer. Yet the action itself sticks largely and somehow...

  6. 'Greyhound' Review: Tom Hanks Is the Captain Now in Bland WWII

    'Greyhound' Review: Tom Hanks Is the Captain Now in Bland WWII Destroyer Drama The star is the best part of this story about a U.S. destroyer escorting warships through dangerous,...

  7. 'Greyhound' Review

    The movie fully immerses the audience in battle, owing something to the intensity of both the D-Day landing in Saving Private Ryan and the combat sequences in Dunkirk. I confess I approached it...

  8. Greyhound Movie Review

    Parents need to know that Greyhound is a World War II drama starring Tom Hanks. It tells the story of a days-long battle between Nazi submarines and a convoy of Allied ships carrying essential arms and supplies across the Atlantic Ocean to England. The action is fierce and frequent, and suspense is high.

  9. Amazon.com: Customer reviews: Greyhound Movie DVD

    Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Greyhound Movie DVD at Amazon.com. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Skip to main content ... 5.0 out of 5 stars 2020 Greyhound movie DVD. Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 26, 2022. Verified Purchase.

  10. Greyhound

    Greyhound doesnt break the mold for war films, but it does serve as a pulse-induing journey and a vital tale of leadership and exemplary team heroism. February 18, 2022 | Rating: 3/4 | Full...

  11. Greyhound (2020)

    Action Drama History Several months after the U.S. entry into World War II, an inexperienced U.S. Navy commander must lead an Allied convoy being stalked by a German submarine wolf pack. Director Aaron Schneider Writers Tom Hanks (screenplay by) C.S. Forester (based on the novel "The Good Shepherd" by) Stars Tom Hanks Elisabeth Shue Stephen Graham

  12. Greyhound Review

    Greyhound has occasional bursts of violent excitement but it's overall lack of engaging characters, the unappetizing CG, and the lackluster story make for a very color-by-numbers outing from a...

  13. GREYHOUND

    Based on a 1955 novel, GREYHOUND is a satisfying, suspenseful, inspiring war movie. It puts viewers in the middle of a Naval captain's efforts to lead his crew and protect other ships from dangerous enemy submarines. As such, it depicts the claustrophobic nature of making split-second command decisions affecting hundreds of lives.

  14. Greyhound Attack (2019)

    The film takes place in Nov 1944, minus the flashback. Two brothers fly attack planes and are hounded by superior German planes made at the V-2 rocket factory. Christopher Forbes wrote, directed, and produced the film which failed in all three areas. The backdrop was very fake looking as was the sky in their airplane settings.

  15. Greyhound

    Chris Stuckmann reviews Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Elisabeth Shue. Directed by Aaron Schneider.

  16. Greyhound Reviews

    Greyhound is a film I really enjoyed, it has great pacing and is a thrill ride from pretty much beginning to end. Tom Hanks is great and really carries the film. The focus is really on his character and the internal struggle with doubt and the … Expand 0 1 7 Broyax Apr 22, 2022

  17. Amazon.com: Greyhound Movie DVD : Electronics

    How customer reviews and ratings work Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don't use a simple average.

  18. Greyhound (2020) Movie Review

    Unlike Forester's novel, Greyhound barely scatches the surface of who Krause even is, much less touches upon his backstory. There are nods to him being devout and the woman he loves (Elisabeth Shue, sadly wasted here), but otherwise the film struggles to dig beneath his stoic exterior.

  19. Movie Review: Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks, on Apple Plus

    Movie review: In the World War 2 maritime adventure Greyhound, Tom Hanks stars as a U.S. Navy captain who must fight Nazi submarines while escorting a 37-ship convoy across the Atlantic.

  20. Greyhound

    A movie review of Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks. Available on Apple TV.Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTz6Qp7QE_cTime Index:Synopsis: (0:43)Review: (...

  21. Jason Adams

    Jason Adams - Greyhound News 21st December 2022 (Podcast Episode 2022) on IMDb: Movies, TV, Celebs, and more... Menu. Movies. Release Calendar Top 250 Movies Most Popular Movies Browse Movies by Genre Top Box Office Showtimes & Tickets Movie News India Movie Spotlight. TV Shows.

  22. Greyhound Review

    Stephen Graham. Tom Hanks. 1942. US Naval commander Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) takes charge of his first assignment on board the USS Keeling — codename: Greyhound. His mission is to lead an ...