Tom Hanks Casts Away on Greyhound In a Tailor-Made Role

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Tom Hanks probably never imagined his first film screenplay since That Thing You Do would be a direct-to-streaming endeavor.

But it's 2020, and the tumultuous year not only left Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, struck with COVID-19 while on location in Australia this February, but it's also breathed new life into the streaming film industry.

As studios still struggle to juggle future releases within an ever-changing landscape, Hanks decided to take a chance on streaming, landing an exclusive deal with Apple TV+ that gets Greyhound worldwide release on Friday, July 10.

Greyhound Poster Vertical

This is the second war movie in as many weeks with a streaming premiere. There's little doubt that a Hanks' vehicle will be the barometer for future streaming releases.

Greyhound is centered on the Battle of the Atlantic, one of the longest and most tenuous battles of World War II taking place entirely on water.

The fight for the Atlantic was the key to ensuring Britain's supply chain, mostly incoming from the United States.

Greyhound is based on the 1955 novel by C.S. Forester, The Good Shepherd. Hanks wrote the screenplay.

Although the movie isn't based on any particular event of the war, it is based on historical events, and the novel was widely considered one of the most well-researched and accurate counts of naval warfare.

Hanks stars as Commander Ernest Krause, a naval commander on his first transatlantic journey. It's the winter of 1942, shortly after the United States joined the great war.

Through the Port Hole

Captain Krause is a God-fearing man with a strong moral compass, and that bears heavily on his success during a five-day period in which the Greyhound, his naval command, is under constant siege from a fleet of Nazi U-boats.

Those are traits that Hanks often embodies with his characters, and if the character from the novel runs parallel to the film, it's no wonder that Hanks was eager to write and star in the movie adaptation.

Given the dire circumstances Krause faces, he not only uses his naval know-how but holds tightly to his convictions. That means making difficult decisions that sometimes run counter to his code that will save the most lives and continue the mission.

There is a line in the trailer when one of his officers suggests that Krause's actions the day before allowed them to live to fight another day. "It's not enough, not nearly enough," Krause says in reply.

Captain Krause

What Krause expects of his men, he expects doubly of himself, surviving on coffee and barely eating during the five-day siege, discovering late in the battle that his feet have been bloodied from his steady attention to the Nazi aggressors.

While there are stunning special effects and a sense of adventure out on the high seas, Greyhound is a character study of which Captain Ernest Krause stands firmly in the center.

Once the siege begins, it's a matter of survival, and that survival depends squarely on Krause until they can radio for air support and carry on with their voyage.

As a fan of another adventurous story of survival and character study that Hanks also starred in, I couldn't help but compare Krause to Chuck Noland of Cast Away.

Steady as She Goes

Captain Krause even has a woman he's left behind (Elizabeth Shue) and the trinket she gave him before his voyage.

Cast Away's Noland's true north was the pocket watch he received from Helen Hunt's character before the holiday jaunt tore him away from her, and Krause's equivalent is a tiny replica of a naval ship given to him by his Shue's Evelyn.

For both, the trinkets signify the life they left behind and their purpose to return.

Also similar to Cast Away, Hanks is the movie, and his costar is the water standing between him and safety.

Battle Damage

Stephen Graham, Michale Benz, Rob Morgan, and a host of others are billed as costars to Hanks but they mostly fade into the background. Greyhound isn't an ensemble piece or even a war epic as much as it is a view into the human spirit and the will to survive.

The menacing voice that interrupts the Captain's command, a disembodied evil under the guise of a Nazi U-boat captain, only serves to drive Krause to the farthest depths of his soul to protect his men, the commission, and himself.

The film is also short, coming in just under 90 minutes. That works in Greyhound's favor, as it doesn't allow the battle to wage on long after Krause has given his absolute best.

With Hanks' star power, the limited time commitment, and the worldwide release, it seems a sure bet to do good business for Apple TV+.


Editor Rating: 3.25 / 5.0
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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