Apple TV+ review: 'Greyhound' brings Apple to the movie big leagues

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited July 2020
Apple has made a good move buying this World War II movie, starring Tom Hanks as a Naval commander, because it's a tense and thrilling effort, as well as being high-profile for the fledgling service.

Tom Hanks in
Tom Hanks in "Greyhound," a new film premiering globally on Friday, July 10, on Apple TV+.


If prestige projects are what you want -- and it's pretty clear that prestige is very important to the overall Apple TV+ project -- it's hard to get more prestigious than a World War II movie starring and written by Tom Hanks. Hanks, as an actor, producer and sometimes both, has been involved in Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific, all of which have collected piles of accolades and awards.

Apple is already working with Hanks and Steven Spielberg on Masters of the Air, a World War II miniseries that will launch on Apple TV+ as the service's first in-house series. And when Greyhound, a movie starring Hanks that was scheduled for release this spring, was put on the market by Sony, Apple reportedly paid $70 million to win a bidding war, in order to make Greyhound the highest-profile feature film to debut on Apple TV+ to date.

Acquiring the rights to Greyhound was a good idea, because it's an outstanding film. It's not quite up to the level of a Saving Private Ryan, but it's still a consistently tense, well-assembled war movie- one that bodes well for more ambitious efforts by Apple TV+ on the film side.

Short and sweet

Greyhound probably has more in common with Christopher Nolan's 2017 Dunkirk than it does with any of Hanks' previous World War II projects. Not only is it similar aesthetically, but it's also short. While Saving Private Ryan clocked in at nearly three hours, Greyhound, like Dunkirk, is just over 90 minutes long- and the credits start at the 82-minute mark.

Tom Hanks in
Tom Hanks in "Greyhound," a new film premiering globally on Friday, July 10, on Apple TV+.


Greyhound was written by Hanks himself, who adapted C. S. Forester's 1955 novel The Good Shepherd. Hanks stars as Commander Krause, a fictional Naval officer who's been given his first command, in the opening days of U.S. involvement in the war in early 1942. Hanks, with a decency consistent with his usual screen persona, plays Krause as a devout man, who's looking to get back to his girlfriend (Elisabeth Shue, who appears briefly.)

The plot has Krause seeking to overcome self-doubt as he leads a convoy of dozens of ships through a phalanx of German submarines in the North Atlantic. Throughout, the film is presented in gorgeous cinematography by Shelly Johnson, and a soaring musical score by television veteran Blake Neely, which is obviously heavily influenced by the work of John Williams.

In a film like this, the most important thing is keeping the tension up, and the director, Aaron Schneider, absolutely does. The drawback, however, is that the short running time and the sustained action leaves most of the characters rather underdeveloped, even as they're played by talented performers like Stephen Graham and Rob Morgan.

Schneider was an unlikely choice to direct this film. He won an Oscar for a live action short in 2003, made the acclaimed drama Get Low in 2009, and then had no credits for 11 years, until Greyhound, although I don't expect him to sit out for nearly as long before his next film.

The big screen question

Tom Hanks in
Tom Hanks in "Greyhound," a new film premiering globally on Friday, July 10, on Apple TV+.


Tom Hanks, in a rare public misstep, said in an interview last week that it was "an absolute heartbreak" that Greyhound won't be seen in theaters. "I don't mean to make angry my Apple overlords, but there is a difference in picture and sound quality," Hanks said.

The actor backed off of the comments in another interview the following day, calling Apple TV+ "a benevolent streaming service in every way."

Whatever the status of Hanks' relationship with his "Apple overlords," it is clear that Greyhound is the sort of movie that's best viewed on the largest TV screen possible, as opposed to on an iPhone, iPad or computer.

It's also the sort of movie that represents a clear move by Apple into ultra-prestigious movie fare, the kind of project that could vindicate Gene Munster's prediction from 2017 that Apple would win an Oscar within five years. Greyhound, since it was a planned theatrical release, would appear to meet this year's unique eligibility requirements for the Academy Awards.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Only movies which have premiered in a theater are eligible for an Oscar. And the Academy Awards aren’t exactly the mark of excellence they used to be 40-50 years ago. They’re an award decided by and given to movie industry insiders. Worthless, IMO.
    Japheylkrupp
  • Reply 2 of 29
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,067member
    Vindicate and Gene Munster. Three words that have never before been used in the same sentence. 
    SpamSandwichentropys
  • Reply 3 of 29
    So nobody has considered the possibility that the "overlords" and "whip masters" comments by Hanks were made in jest? Do people also think Craig Federighi was being sincere when he said the Apple marketing team was on drugs when they came up with Big Sur?
    lolliverentropyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    So nobody has considered the possibility that the "overlords" and "whip masters" comments by Hanks were made in jest? Do people also think Craig Federighi was being sincere when he said the Apple marketing team was on drugs when they came up with Big Sur?
    My favorite example of someone biting the hand that feeds them was when George Lucas said he had sold his “children” (Lucasfilm and Star Wars movies) off to “white slavers” (Disney).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 29
    Only movies which have premiered in a theater are eligible for an Oscar. And the Academy Awards aren’t exactly the mark of excellence they used to be 40-50 years ago. They’re an award decided by and given to movie industry insiders. Worthless, IMO.
    Except for the 2021 Academy Awards, from reading the article it seems like Greyhound “should” be able to be nominated.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/28/21240422/oscars-streaming-theaters-rules-2021-netflix-digital-release-academy
    lolliverronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 29
    Only movies which have premiered in a theater are eligible for an Oscar. And the Academy Awards aren’t exactly the mark of excellence they used to be 40-50 years ago. They’re an award decided by and given to movie industry insiders. Worthless, IMO.
    Except for the 2021 Academy Awards, from reading the article it seems like Greyhound “should” be able to be nominated.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/28/21240422/oscars-streaming-theaters-rules-2021-netflix-digital-release-academy
    If theaters don't open this year, there will be no academy awards - or else they will make an exception to the rules for this year only and let streaming releases be nominated. Hanks shouldn’t be denied his shot at a best screenplay Oscar if his work is good.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Only movies which have premiered in a theater are eligible for an Oscar. And the Academy Awards aren’t exactly the mark of excellence they used to be 40-50 years ago. They’re an award decided by and given to movie industry insiders. Worthless, IMO.
    Except for the 2021 Academy Awards, from reading the article it seems like Greyhound “should” be able to be nominated.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/28/21240422/oscars-streaming-theaters-rules-2021-netflix-digital-release-academy
    If theaters don't open this year, there will be no academy awards - or else they will make an exception to the rules for this year only and let streaming releases be nominated. Hanks shouldn’t be denied his shot at a best screenplay Oscar if his work is good.
    A movie being “good” isn’t the criteria for an Oscar. It’s all subjective and it’s all decided by industry insiders.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    rain22rain22 Posts: 132member
    Do people also think Craig Federighi was being sincere when he said the Apple marketing team was on drugs when they came up with Big Sur?
    Yes. 
  • Reply 9 of 29
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,010member
    I really enjoyed this movie on my home theater setup. I don’t give a rip if it wins an Academy Award. Do real people who have no stake in the production of an entertainment product actually care about stuff like that?
  • Reply 10 of 29
    Just finished watching! It was riveting! I remember watching The Hunt for Red October in my childhood—and reading the book, once I’ve learned English, in my teens. All brought back by this short and exciting movie.

    I dare say that Hanks is not completely wrong in his original assessment. It WOULD BE a shame not enjoying this movie on a proper movie theater, but for the pandemic!

    Now, I’m with the feeling that other studios should have done something like this these past four months!
    Beatslolliverrandominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 29
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member
    I am watching it right now. With a good home theatre system, this movie is decently enjoyable. AppleTV 4k quality, bass sound is good I have atmos system.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 29
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,691member
    A movie of this quality will cost $9.99 to rent after home release. Since it's technically a home theater release, these movies cost $19.99 for a 24 hour rental.

    $4.99/month for Apple TV+.

    Still bitc*ing?
    lolliverosmartormenajrMisterKitronnfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 29
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,691member
    I have to sort of apologize for my last comment. Maybe 6 months ago people had reason to complain but TV+ is really coming along. But what did we expect? It's an all-original service so it naturally was gonna take time. People were complaining day one. I bet Apple is prepping for the end of the year where most of their TV+ subscribers free year ends. They'll hook us in by then.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,720member
    Only movies which have premiered in a theater are eligible for an Oscar. And the Academy Awards aren’t exactly the mark of excellence they used to be 40-50 years ago. They’re an award decided by and given to movie industry insiders. Worthless, IMO.
    Except for the 2021 Academy Awards, from reading the article it seems like Greyhound “should” be able to be nominated.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/28/21240422/oscars-streaming-theaters-rules-2021-netflix-digital-release-academy
    If theaters don't open this year, there will be no academy awards - or else they will make an exception to the rules for this year only and let streaming releases be nominated. Hanks shouldn’t be denied his shot at a best screenplay Oscar if his work is good.
    A movie being “good” isn’t the criteria for an Oscar. It’s all subjective and it’s all decided by industry insiders.
    Add diversity and gender quotas to the mix and you've got a completely controlled award system that means nothing.
    BeatsOctoMonkey
  • Reply 15 of 29
    It was OK. I didn't really feel any suspense building and character development was minimal. The focus on proper procedure and comms was good. The acting and action was good, and I liked how everything seemed to be confined to Greyhound herself, but there was something just not there. I think if there was a voiceover, it could have passed for a documentary.

    We watched it on a new 65" LG 4K LED screen, good sound system + sub (Jamo floorstanders + new Pioneer amp) cranked up, all lights off, no kids or iPhones to distract us.
    edited July 2020 spice-boyBeats
  • Reply 16 of 29
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,446member
    This was not a good movie and seemed more like a "section" of a larger more detailed movie which was never made. The characters including Hank's was nothing but a sketch and as some characters perished it barely registered with me. An attempt to qualify the enemy dead as "souls" by the captain gave little to no humanity to the Germans either. The centerpiece of the story which again is what it was without a satisfy entry and a whisper of an ending made enduring the battle scenes as a waste of time. I had not read any reviews before watching last night, I am curious what the experts think. 
  • Reply 17 of 29
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,446member
    lkrupp said:
    Only movies which have premiered in a theater are eligible for an Oscar. And the Academy Awards aren’t exactly the mark of excellence they used to be 40-50 years ago. They’re an award decided by and given to movie industry insiders. Worthless, IMO.
    Except for the 2021 Academy Awards, from reading the article it seems like Greyhound “should” be able to be nominated.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/28/21240422/oscars-streaming-theaters-rules-2021-netflix-digital-release-academy
    If theaters don't open this year, there will be no academy awards - or else they will make an exception to the rules for this year only and let streaming releases be nominated. Hanks shouldn’t be denied his shot at a best screenplay Oscar if his work is good.
    A movie being “good” isn’t the criteria for an Oscar. It’s all subjective and it’s all decided by industry insiders.
    Add diversity and gender quotas to the mix and you've got a completely controlled award system that means nothing.
    wow you really are a piece of work, there were no women on that ship although later in the war women served as nurses in combat situations. Yes there were many Black soldiers in WW2. 
  • Reply 18 of 29
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,233member
    spice-boy said:
    lkrupp said:
    Only movies which have premiered in a theater are eligible for an Oscar. And the Academy Awards aren’t exactly the mark of excellence they used to be 40-50 years ago. They’re an award decided by and given to movie industry insiders. Worthless, IMO.
    Except for the 2021 Academy Awards, from reading the article it seems like Greyhound “should” be able to be nominated.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/28/21240422/oscars-streaming-theaters-rules-2021-netflix-digital-release-academy
    If theaters don't open this year, there will be no academy awards - or else they will make an exception to the rules for this year only and let streaming releases be nominated. Hanks shouldn’t be denied his shot at a best screenplay Oscar if his work is good.
    A movie being “good” isn’t the criteria for an Oscar. It’s all subjective and it’s all decided by industry insiders.
    Add diversity and gender quotas to the mix and you've got a completely controlled award system that means nothing.
    wow you really are a piece of work, there were no women on that ship although later in the war women served as nurses in combat situations. Yes there were many Black soldiers in WW2. 
    I believe he was talking about the oscars in general, not this little film.  On the grounds of awards being given on political grounds rather than excellence. Of course, you could argue these little  diecast, gold coated mantelpiece huggers have always been awarded for reasons other than excellence, but still.
    watto_cobraOctoMonkey
  • Reply 19 of 29
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 637member
    Saw it & thought it was great!  Very enjoyable movie.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 29
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,233member
    I really enjoyed it, constant tension that reminded me of a similar movie made years ago starring Robert Mitchum “the enemy below” from the fifties. Great movie too.
     I think Hanks was trying to pack too much into the runtime and as noted above, characters were not properly developed, even Hanks’ character. The people parts seemed a bit forced, and the technical problems were flagged, but no exposition.  Made it look a bit crowded and maybe these complications could have been skipped altogether.  The book, as usual, had room for more detail and thus is much better. I would not think this little fillum Oscar material.
    edited July 2020 watto_cobra
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