Greyhound is the latest film to be on the Apple TV+ streaming platform, one they paid a lot of money for (a reputed $70 million).
It is based on the novel The Good Shepherd from British writer C. S. Forester, who lived in the US and wrote propaganda to convince the US to join the war.
Tom Hanks (“The Post”, “The Circle”) takes on screenplay duties (not his first) and also leads the cast as Commander Ernest Krause, an experienced man in the Navy on his first crossing of the North Atlantic in 1942, leading a fleet across an area known as the “Black Pit”.
Much like the book, the focus is on Krause as he, his ship the titular Greyhound, a fleet of 37 ships, thousands of soldiers and three other escort ships, are hunted down by a relentless bunch of German U-boats calling themselves the Wolf Pack, with no air support.
Krause is a religious man, praying before every piece of food, diligently brought to him by Rob Morgan (“Stranger Things”, “Brawl In Cell Block 99”) until it isn’t, he walks all over the ship until his feet bleed and he changes into his slippers.
From the start, Krause is in charge, he wants to know everything, be part of everything, make all the decisions. But you get the impression this isn’t because he’s a control freak, though that’s certainly part of it, but it’s more that he feels responsible for the men on board all the ships.
You feel on-edge watching Greyhound, your nerves feel like how Hanks looks as he takes no sleep, hardly any food, living on coffee, adrenalin and the thought of seeing his future wife, Elisabeth Shue (“Death Wish”, “The Boys (TV)”).
Torpedo’s race towards us, Krause barking orders to manoeuvre Greyhound out of the way. We narrowly miss other ships in the water, scraping the sides of them, we fire a volley of large ammunition at the slightest site of a periscope.
Director Aaron Schneider (“Get Low”, “Two Soldiers (Short)”) keeps our eyes on Krause throughout, whilst we see the German U-boats, occasionally diving with them, our PoV is very much from Krause, on Krause and the relentless sea.
The equipment also comes into play, this isn’t your typical Hollywood movie when weapons have unlimited bullets; radar fails, wipers freeze, depth charges are used-up.
Hanks keeps the script tight; dialogue is kept to a minimum, mostly barked orders and repeated messages with plenty of Morse Code thrown in to-boot.
Greyhound is a taught, tense movie that would have looked, and sounded, amazing on the big screen. As it is, you have to watch it on whatever size screen you have at home and, whilst the film is great, it’s a shame we can’t experience it on the silver screen.