The Curator of Schlock #349 by Jeff Shuster
Not the bus.
Edwige and I were about five days into our road trip to Canada when I realize I had made a horrible mistake. I left my box of Arrow Blu-rays back at Big Tom’s. I have to turn this rig around, but that’s okay. I subscribed to Apple TV Plus for all sorts of exclusive content like old Charlie Brown specials and a Justin Timberlake indie film. Oh, boy. Well there is a new Tom Hanks movie on there called Greyhound.
2020’s Greyhound from director Aaron Schneider skipped the theaters last year due to that whole global pandemic thing. Apple landed it as their big exclusive movie on their fledgling streaming service. This was much to the disappointment of Tom Hanks who wanted a big screen release for this movie he wrote the screenplay for based on the novel The Good Shepherd by C. S. Forester. I typically don’t care for World War II movies, but this one was interesting. Maybe because it’s the first movie I’ve seen about The Battle of the Atlantic. Also, at a 91 minute runtime, Greyhound doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Tom Hanks plays Commander Ernest Krause, captain of the USS Keeling. Its radio call sign is “Greyhound.” Greyhound is part of a team of escort ships, protecting supply ships on their way to Liverpool. Captain Krause is in command of the fleet, but it’s his first mission, first time coming face to face with the dreaded threats that lurk within the waters of the “Black Pit,” an area of the Atlantic out of range of air support, where the ships are vulnerable to the dreaded German U-boats.
The U-boats are known as “wolf packs” because they hunt in groups. And they are pretty terrifying. We don’t get to really see the enemy in this movie. The creepy music blares, the sub pops up from the water with a red wolf’s head painted on the side, and before you know it, an oil tanker is torpedoed. You can see the toll this is taking on Captain Krause as he downs cups of flaming hot coffee while refusing to eat anything.
Every so often, one of the Germans figures out the Greyhound’s radio frequency and starts trolling the crew. The German officer says stuff like, “We hear the screams of your comrades and we laugh. The wolf always eats the hound. We will kill you. Awhooooooooooo. Awhoooooooooo!” Captain Krause changes the frequency, but the Germans figure it out again and keep trolling them. There’s loss of crew members, high stakes suspense, and a climatic finish.
I’m with Tom Hanks. This should have gotten a theatrical release. The spectacle of warships and submarines attacking each other on the high seas would have been worth seeing on the big screen. Also, Tom Hanks tends to keep the details as true to life in these war films. This would have been an immersive experience in a proper theater. Here’s hoping it might get a second chance for a theatrical run.
Jeff Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, episode 284, episode 441, episode 442, episode 443, episode 444, and episode 450) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.