Official release poster
|Directed by||Aaron Schneider|
|Produced by||Gary Goetzman|
|Screenplay by||Tom Hanks|
|Based on||The Good Shepherd|
by C. S. Forester
|Music by||Blake Neely|
|Distributed by||Apple TV+|
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 US Navy commander 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, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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, who highlighted 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 liason officer on the radio), call sign Eagle; and the Canadian Flower-class corvette, HMCS Dodge, call sign Dicky.
The escort ships are also under the command of Krause. Despite his seniority, 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 (HUFFDUFF) from the convoy flagship reports to Greyhound that it has intercepted German transmissions that are likely from a U-boat (submarine). Greyhound's crew identifies the surfaced sub heading toward 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 Greyhound 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 and is sinking. Krause moves Greyhound to assist, evading torpedoes fired by another U-boat in the process. After the rescue Greyhound returns to the convoy receiving multiple messages from the other escorts: a wolfpack of six more subs is staying just out of firing range of the convoy, which Krause suspects is waiting for nightfall in order to attack. As night falls, the attack commences with five merchant ships being torpedoed and sunk. One U-boat torpedoes an oil tanker and escapes Greyhound by using an underwater decoy to waste depth charges. Krause chooses to rescue survivors from the burning oil tanker before proceeding to the action at the rear of the convoy.
The next day, the submariners mount an attack on Greyhound. The captain of the submarine 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. The U-boats launch multiple torpedo runs, which Greyhound is barely able to evade. Meanwhile both Dicky and Eagle take damage, with Eagle eventually sinking. Greyhound and Dicky combine to sink one of the U-boats in an exchange of surface broadsides. 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. Krause elects to break radio silence by transmitting a single word, "help" to the Admiralty.
On the last day in the Black Pit, the remaining U-boats mount an all-out attack. One of the torpedoes glances off the side of Greyhound as the destroyer barely manages to evade the other. After heavy fighting, Greyhound manages to sink the lead U-boat. To everyone's relief, they spot air support deployed from British RAF Coastal Command. With spotting assistance from Greyhound, a PBY Catalina bomber lines up on the last visible U-boat with depth charges, sinking it instantly. The remaining three subs are assumed to have slipped away.
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. While setting the new course, the passengers and crew of one of the convoy ships cheer and send up flares to salute Greyhound's crew for their valor and victory at sea while Krause finally 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 at Lieutenant J. Edgar Nystrom
- Joseph Poliquin as Herbert Forbrick
- Devin Druid as Homer Wallace
- Maximilian Osinski as voice of Eagle
- Dominic Keating as voice of 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 voice of Dickie
- Thomas Kretschmann as voice of Grey Wolf
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 under its Columbia label on March 22, 2020, before being delayed to May 8, 2020 and finally June 12, 2020.
Like many other films, it was then delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. 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".
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 79% based on 195 reviews, with an average rating of 6.49/10. 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, [Greyhound is] 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."
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