How many times has Tom Hanks played a straight shooter, a good guy, a stalwart citizen who always gives his best effort and is a good leader, too? I’ve lost track, but you can add Ernest Krause to the list.
He’s the Commander of the USS Greyhound, a destroyer tasked with leading a convoy of 37 ships full of supplies and troops across the North Atlantic in 1942. At the time, air cover could only stay with the ships so far before having to turn back, which left the naval vessels exposed in the wide open ocean, where German submarines were ready to pounce. That’s a tough task for any captain, but even more so for Krause, who is making his first crossing.
Unfortunately, the screenplay (written by Hanks) doesn’t offer much more than an extended series of shouted orders from Krause, most of which involved the phrase, “Right full rudder!!” The battle scenes seem exciting at first, but after a while, the too-obvious CGI becomes a distraction as the action gets repetitive.
I’ve complained in the past about movies that shoehorn in a love interest for the male lead to remind us how human they are. Here’s what I wrote after seeing the worn-out trope in my review of the 2019 reboot of “Midway”:
Mandy Moore shows up, too, as the wife of one of the naval aviators, but that entire subplot does nothing more than add several minutes to the already-bloated two-hour-plus runtime of “Midway.” I was reminded of the scenes in “The Caine Mutiny” involving Willie Keith’s fiancé — completely irrelevant to the central narrative. Both women were no doubt inserted into the storyline after some movie executive complained that there had to be at least one woman on the screen, and they couldn’t very well be on board the battleships or in the fighter planes during World War II.
“Greyhound” only runs an hour and a half, but it still didn’t need an opening scene with Elisabeth Shue as Krause’s wife. The only reason she’s there is to give the Commander a pair of monogrammed slippers, which you know he’s going to have to slip on during a rare quiet moment between battles. Spoiler alert: he does. It’s a complete waste of screen time.
Hanks and Shue are the only actors you’ll know in the “Greyhound” cast, which includes a large number of completely interchangeable young, white soldiers. Oh, there’s also Cleveland, a Black mess attendant the Commander likes, who brings him coffee and food at regular intervals. Again, you don’t have to read very far into the Book Of Movie Cliches to know what’s going to happen to Cleveland.
The only thing “Greyhound” has going for it, really, is Hanks’ stoicism as Krause. But if he wasn’t in the movie, there would be no reason to watch it.
I give “Greyhound” a 4 out of 10. It’s now streaming on Apple TV+.