Three films about…leadership: Greyhound (2020), Savage (2019) and The Founder (2016)
Why am I writing about these movies now?
Well, I’m moving my back catalogue of movie (and occasionally TV) reviews from another site to Medium — covering many of the best-known releases of the last decade, as well as more obscure fare. To make it a bit more fun, I’ll be grouping them thematically (as here), but unless I spot actual errors I’m not doing any editing…so my opinion may have changed since I first wrote them!
My reviews of new cinema, streaming and disc releases, as well as retrospectives on old (and not-so-old) classics, will mostly continue to appear on the Medium publication Frame Rated.
Anyway, here goes. Enjoy…
About two thirds of the way through Greyhound, Aaron Schneider’s gripping, no-nonsense, very old-fashioned Second World War naval combat movie, there is a burial at sea. The colours filling the screen are overwhelmingly grey-blue — uniforms, water, metal — but there, amidst it all, are the red and white and more azure blue of the Stars and Stripes.
It’s such an in-your-face patriotic moment that many British viewers are doubtless going to get exercised by Greyhound and the way that it relegates the Royal Navy’s role in the Battle of the Atlantic to that of plucky but slightly comical, Terry-Thomasish support for Tom Hanks and his crew. (The Canadians and Polish also get a look-in, though you wouldn’t really know it from the way the script is phrased.)
The movie — written by Hanks but based on C.S. Forester’s novel The Good Shepherd — makes no secret of its thoroughly American perspective, opening with Churchill’s promise to “bring the United States into the forefront of the battle”. But Greyhound’s flag-waving is of a restrained sort, embodied in uncritical approval of its characters (committed, dutiful, efficient and modest to a man) rather than in bigging them up with extreme heroics or maudlin self-sacrifice.
Indeed, its greatest strength — apart from its straightforward entertainment value, which is considerable — may be its matter-of-factness, its willingness (pretty rare in mainstream Hollywood product) to let an inherently tense and dangerous real-life situation…