|Genre||Action, Drama, History, War|
|Content Rating||PG-13 (PG-13)|
|Company||Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Stage 6 Films, Bron Creative|
|Country||USA, Canada, China|
Greyhound is a 2020 American war film directed by Aaron Schneider and starring Tom Hanks, who also wrote the screenplay. The film is based on the 1955 novel The Good Shepherd by C. S. Forester, and also stars Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, and Elisabeth Shue. The plot follows a commander of the US Navy on his first war-time assignment in command of a multi-national escort group defending a merchant ship convoy under attack by submarines in early-1942 during the Battle of the Atlantic, only months after the U.S. officially entered World War II.
Greyhound was initially scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on June 12, 2020 by Sony Pictures Releasing, but was eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic after previously being delayed indefinitely. The distribution rights were then sold to Apple TV+, which released the film digitally on July 10, 2020. It received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for the action sequences and effective use of the 90-minute runtime.
During the Battle of the Atlantic, convoy HX-25, consisting of 37 Allied ships, is making its way to Liverpool. The convoy's escort consists of the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Keeling, radio call sign "Greyhound", captained by Commander Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) of the United States Navy; the British Tribal-class destroyer HMS James, call sign "Harry"; the Polish Grom-class destroyer ORP Viktor (with a Royal Navy liaison officer on the radio), call sign "Eagle"; and the Canadian Flower-class corvette, HMCS Dodge, call sign "Dicky". Krause is serving as overall commander of the escort ships, but despite his seniority and extensive naval education, it is his first wartime command.
The convoy enters the "Black Pit" — the Mid-Atlantic gap where they will be out of range of protective air cover. While they are still three days away from the resumption of air cover, high-frequency direction finding from the convoy flagship results in the interception of several German transmissions, indicating the presence of U-boats. Greyhound's radar operator identifies a surfaced sub heading towards the convoy. Greyhound moves away from the convoy to intercept it based on its bearing and gets the U-boat within firing range, but the heavy seas allow the U-boat to dive before Greyhound can get a visual. After sonar contact is re-established, the submarine tries to slip under Greyhound, but Krause maneuvers his ship above the U-boat and fires a full pattern of depth charges, resulting in his first kill.
The crew's jubilation is cut short as they soon receive reports of distress rockets at the rear of the convoy. A Greek merchant ship was attacked by another U-boat and is quickly sinking. Krause moves Greyhound to assist, evading torpedoes fired at his ship with careful maneuvering. The surviving Greek sailors are rescued, and Greyhound returns to the convoy just as the bridge receives multiple messages from the other escorts: a wolfpack consisting of six U-boats is staying just out of firing range of the convoy; Krause suspects they are waiting for nightfall, when the escorts will have no visibility. The attack commences that evening with five merchant ships being torpedoed and sunk. One U-boat torpedoes an oil tanker and escapes Greyhound by using an underwater decoy, tricking the crew into wasting most of their remaining depth charges. Krause chooses to rescue survivors from the burning oil tanker rather than go to the aid of the other ships first, a decision he comes to regret.
The next day, the wolf pack targets Greyhound. The captain of the lead submarine, callsign "Grey Wolf", taunts the convoy and its escorts via radio transmission, threatening to sink them all. Krause learns that Greyhound is down to six depth charges, leaving it with no effective response to an underwater attack. The U-boats launch multiple torpedo runs, which Greyhound is barely able to evade. Greyhound and Dicky combine to sink one of the U-boats in an exchange of surface broadsides. Dicky receives minor damage due to the close range of the engagement and Greyhound is hit on the port side by one of the U-boat's deck guns, which kills Krause's mess attendant, George Cleveland, and two sailors. During the funeral service, Eagle is attacked and eventually sinks. Krause, aware that doing so might expose the shoddy state of the escort fleet, elects to break radio silence by transmitting a single word, "help", to the Admiralty.
With the convoy close to reaching air cover, the remaining U-boats mount an all-out assault on the destroyers. One of the torpedoes glances off the side of Greyhound, and the other barely makes contact. After heavy fighting, Greyhound sinks Grey Wolf with a full broadside. To everyone's relief, they spot air support deployed from British RAF Coastal Command and use their guns to mark the last visible U-boat, allowing a PBY Catalina bomber to line up a depth charge attack and sink the sub. The rest of the pack quickly flees before they can be discovered.
While assessing damage, Krause receives radio contact from the head of the relief escorts, HMS Diamond, that his relief has arrived and Greyhound is due for repair and refitting in Derry alongside his two surviving companion vessels. The crew receives a "job well done" on their four U-boat kills. As Krause turns over the deck to a junior officer (his watch is officer of the deck), all present on the bridge gaze at their Captain in surprise, as they realise he hasn't left command since they entered the Black Pit 48 hours earlier, their looks turn to new-found respect. While setting the new course, passengers and crew of the remaining convoy ships cheer and send up flares to salute Greyhound's crew for their valor and victory at sea while Krause finally prays and rests.
- Tom Hanks as Commander Ernest Krause, commanding officer of the USS Keeling, codenamed Greyhound
- Stephen Graham as Lieutenant Commander Charlie Cole, Krause's executive officer
- Rob Morgan as George Cleveland, Mess Attendant 2nd Class
- Elisabeth Shue as Evelyn Frechette, Ernest's love interest
- Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Melvin Lopez
- Karl Glusman as Red Eppstein
- Tom Brittney as Lieutenant Watson
- Jake Ventimiglia as Harry Fippler
- Matt Helm as Lieutenant J. Edgar Nystrom
- Joseph Poliquin as Lee Helmsman #1
- Devin Druid as Homer Wallace
- Maximilian Osinski as captain of ORP Viktor, Callsign "Eagle"
- Dominic Keating as captain of HMS James, Callsign "Harry"
- Grayson Russell as Signalman #1
- Dave Davis as Boatswain's Mate #1
- Michael Benz as Lieutenant Carling
- Travis Przybylski as LTJG Dawson
- Josh Wiggins as Talker #1
- Chet Hanks as Bushnell
- Ian James Corlett as captain of HMCS Dodge, callsign "Dicky"
- Thomas Kretschmann as captain of Grey Wolf
- Michael Carollo as Rico Ochoa, Forward Lookout
It was announced in September 2016 that Tom Hanks was writing a screenplay about a World War II navy destroyer. Hanks would also star in the film. In February 2017, Aaron Schneider was brought on to direct, and Sony Pictures acquired the distribution rights.
Pre-production photography took place in January 2018 at sea on board HMCS Montréal, a frigate of the Royal Canadian Navy. In March 2018, Stephen Graham, Elisabeth Shue, Rob Morgan, Karl Glusman, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo were cast, and filming had commenced in Louisiana, aboard USS Kidd in Baton Rouge.
Greyhound was initially scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia label on March 22, 2019, before being delayed to May 8, 2020 and finally June 12, 2020.
Like many other films, it was then removed from the release schedule in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Hanks himself had been diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier that month while filming Elvis for Warner Bros.. In May 2020, it was announced Apple TV+ had acquired distribution rights to the film for about $70 million; Stage 6 Films was left as the sole Sony distributor as of the release of the film. It was released digitally by the service on July 10, 2020. Apple said that the film had the biggest debut weekend of any program in the platform's history, with Deadline Hollywood saying the figures were "commensurate with a summer theatrical box office big hit". In November, Variety reported the film was the 24th-most watched straight-to-streaming title of 2020 up to that point.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 79% based on 212 reviews, with an average rating of 6.50/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "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." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Owen Gleiberman, in his review for Variety, said the film is "less a drama than a tense and sturdy diary of the logistics of battle" and "though much of the action is set in the open air of the ship's command perch, Greyhound often feels like a submarine thriller: tense, tight, boxed-in." Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips gave the film three out of four stars and said: "Like the canine, trim, narrow of scope, and it runs efficiently and well despite a barrage of on-screen time stamps and vessel identification markers."
David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a "C−" and wrote: "A terse and streamlined dad movie that's shorter than a Sunday afternoon nap and just as exciting, Greyhound bobs across the screen like a nuanced character study that's been entombed in a 2,000-ton iron casket and set adrift over the Atlantic. The film offers a handful of brief hints at the tortured hero who Forester invented for his book... but the whole thing is far too preoccupied with staying afloat to profile the guy at the helm in any meaningful way."