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  • Gareth Crook

Greyhound (2020)

It’s 1942. US ships sail in formation across The Atlantic to Liverpool, laden with cargo for the allied troops in WW2. 37 ships plus 4 warships for protection. We know this as it’s all written out on screen. It’s that kind of film, you’re not gonna have to think too much. It’s simple high octane adventure, based in truth of course, but dramatised greatly. It’s screaming for a big screen, but of course can’t have one right now, so gets its debut on Apple TV+, much to Tom Hanks’ well publicised annoyance. Hanks carries this, but he’s in good company, not least by Stephen Graham. The Greyhound is one of the warships, on which Hanks does his thing. It’s the lead ship as far as we’re concerned, watching out for the convoy and is not to be fucked with. Cue lots of “This is your captain” over the radio, sonar beeps and pounding waves. They’re being hunted, alone without air cover for the next 2 days, the U-Boats are closing in. Cameras whip, tense music ramps, Tom (Captain Krause) looks concerned, Stephen (Charlie Cole) says “Aye aye”... a lot. The dialogue is essentially all radio chat, positions, reports, orders, but it is gripping. An intense opening half hour sees them take out Krause’s first U-Boat, this is his maiden voyage y’see. It’s not edge of your seat stuff, but it’ll keep your eyes locked. It’s a success, they go toe to toe and blow the U-Boat out of the water, but at the loss of “50 souls”, Tom’s a nice bloke isn’t he. You’ll not find the usual gloating, fist pumping “USA USA” bollocks and that’s to it’s credit. There’s more where that U-Boat came from though, as a pack of 6 emerge menacingly from the depths. Waiting... for nightfall. The screen goes dark, red and green glows from instruments, thick orange from burning ships. They’re in the thick of it, the huge merchant ships packed around them, as they try to stealthfully navigate around, hunting the U-Boats, guns booming, rescuing men in the water as they go. There’s brief moments of regrouping, before it kicks off again. They’re losing though, Tom is upset. Low of fuel and firepower. Tom hatches a plan and we get a big finish, a successful finish, of course. Full of underwater torpedo shots, big explosions, near misses and tons of running around on deck. It’s does get a bit schmaltzy as it closes, Tom the humble hero, sweeping strings in a rousing orchestra celebrating, but you know what, it’s fine. This isn’t going to be remembered as a classic, but it’s notable for Hanks writing the screenplay himself and at an economical 90 minutes, it’s rattles along nicely. Probably would’ve been better on a cinema screen though.



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