Apple TV are working hard to expand on their original content, with their biggest addition arriving in the form of Tom Hanks’ led wartime thriller, Greyhound. Reportedly costing Apple $70 million in order to distribute it on their streaming platform, Greyhound will premiere this Friday.
As well as starring Hanks in the lead role of Captain Ernest Krause, Hanks also adapted the screenplay from C.S Forester’s novel, The Good Shepherd.
The film follows Krause, on his first ever assignment, as he leads a convoy across a patch of the Atlantic Ocean, known as the ‘Black Pit’. Beyond the range of air support, the ‘Black Pit’ is notorious for being the hunting ground of German U-Boats.
And, aside from an opening sequence where Hanks and love interest, played by Elisabeth Shue, give each other parting gifts, Greyhound takes place entirely on the USS Keeling.
Director Aaron Schneider rightly takes notes of the films trim ninety minute runtime. Once onboard the Keeling (call sign: Greyhound), it’s rare for the action to drop off. The first scene sets the tone, as Krause and his crew take out their first U-Boat. It’s all a ploy to familiarise the viewer of the Keeling‘s tactics, manoeuvres and weapons, so, when the action picks up later on in the film, we don’t feel like we’re behind in knowing what’s going on.
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The convoy soon finds themselves the target of one particular U-Boat that bears the emblem of a snarling wolf. In one terrifying scene, the German officer of the U-Boat mocks Krause by comparing their fight to that of a real wolf and hound. Here, we see Krause at his most vulnerable – not during the sea battles with guns firing over his head, but inside the ship with a crackling radio.
It’s at this turning point the film becomes more of a chase movie.
Hunted ferociously by the ‘Grey Wolf’, Krause is forced to make decisions that could change the whole fate of the convoy. In the midst of a battle, he has to make the agonising choice of whether to save men who have fallen overboard or go on to defend the rest of the convoy.
It’s to Hanks’ credit and talent that Krause is a hero to root for. Other than the opening scene (which does add some weight to the protagonist), Krause is a seemingly kind man who barks orders and receives no pushback. It’s the tough choices of war put onto him and Hanks’ acting skill that elevate Krause to more than just a paper-thin character.
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It’s also worth noting the talent that surrounds Hanks. Although many of the men, and boys, aboard the Keeling are simply obeying orders, their fear, excitement and, sometimes, reluctance add to the surrounding drama. All are totally believable in their parts, be it a few lines or no lines at all. Stephen Graham also adds suitable support in the role of Charlie Cole, Krause’s second-in-command.
Greyhound makes use of its short runtime by focusing on delivering tight-knit, sleek action rather than working on fleshing out its characters. It’s a solid wartime movie that never dips in pace and is easy to enjoy.
A synopsis from Apple TV reads:
In a thrilling WWII story inspired by actual events, Captain Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) leads an international convoy of 37 ships on a treacherous mission across the Atlantic to deliver thousands of soldiers and much-needed supplies to Allied forces.
Greyhound will be released on Apple TV and starts streaming from Friday 10th July.