10 Things to Know About Tom Hanks’ New Movie ‘Greyhound’

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Image courtesy of Apple TV+

Tom Hanks’ latest movie is a World War II feature set during the Battle of the Atlantic. While it was originally scheduled to appear in theaters on Father’s Day, due to the COVID-10 pandemic, Apple won a bidding war with other streamers for the rights to bring the production to smaller screens. Greyhound begins streaming on Friday, July 10, 2020, exclusively on Apple TV+.

1. What is it about?

Greyhound centers around a US Navy officer who is in command of a convoy of 37 transport ships and their destroyer escorts as they cross the North Atlantic carrying thousands of troops and supplies from the United States to Great Britain. The movie focuses on five days when the convoy was traversing an area known as the “Black Pit” where the ships would be out of range of friendly air cover. This was the hunting grounds for German submarines known as U-boats. The destroyers are challenged with locating and sinking the U-boats while preventing the enemy from sinking the transport ships as well as the destroyers themselves.

2. Who provides the star power in the movie?

Tom Hanks headlines the movie as United States Navy Commander Ernest Krause,  the captain of the destroyer USS Keelin who is also in charge of protecting the convoy. The call-sign of his destroyer is “Greyhound.” In addition to acting, Hanks also wrote the screenplay. Elisabeth Shue plays Evelyn, a romantic interest of Krause. Stephen Graham portrays Charlie Cole, the executive officer of Krause’s destroyer, while Rob Morgan plays the mess chief on the ship. The movie was directed by Aaron Schneider and produced by Gary Goetzman.

3. Who will enjoy the movie?

Those who like movies based on historical military actions, as well as fans of Tom Hanks, will enjoy Greyhound. While there have been other movies about U-boats and destroyers, most were from the point of view of the submarine trying to sink ships rather than the destroyers protecting them. This type of warfare contains a lot of suspense as the destroyers try to locate the U-boats with crude radar and sonar. Hanks does a great job portraying the internal conflict within Krause who is on his first convoy duty across the Atlantic as he reflects on mistakes and losses under his command. For this reason, even those who do not typically enjoy war movies may still like Greyhound.

Image courtesy of Apple TV+

4. Will kids enjoy the movie?

Teenagers who have studied about World War II or enjoy historical movies will enjoy Greyhound. While it may seem slow at the start for them, the action does pick up and continues almost all the way to the end. Younger children may have trouble understanding what is going on in the movie.

5. Why is the movie rated PG-13?

Greyhound is rated PG-13 for war-related action/violence and brief strong language. However, the violence is not the typical type one would associate with a war movie. While there are some blood and bodies, it is fleeting and the violence mostly consists of explosions and damage to ships.

Image courtesy of Apple TV+

6. Do I need to have seen previous movies to enjoy it?

Tom Hanks has starred in or produced several movies or series set during World War II including Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific. In fact, the latter two series were also produced by the same company as Greyhound, Playtone. While these other movies and series cover World War II, you do not need to have seen them to enjoy Greyhound, which takes place in another area of the conflict. However, Greyhound helps provide a greater understanding of what had to take place to allow for other battles and military campaigns such as D-Day.

7. What background knowledge helps in understanding the movie?

Since the Battle of the Atlantic is not as popular of a topic as other battles in World War II, some of the terms and concepts may not be familiar to all viewers. The Battle of the Atlantic lasted from 1939 until 1945. As Germany and Great Britain were at war, Britain needed supplies from the United States to help them continue the fight. After Pearl Harbor and the United State’s entry into the war, the amount of shipping carrying supplies as well as troops to Britain increased to prepare for the invasion of Europe. Germany’s main strategy for the battle was to prevent these transports from delivering their cargo by sinking them using their submarines known as U-boats (Unterseeboot). These U-boats could not remain underwater for long and had to surface to run their diesel engines in order to charge the batteries used while submerged. On the surface, they could be detected by radar and visual sightings. However, once submerged, they could only be detected by sonar, which uses sound waves to find underwater objects. Destroyers are one of the smallest combat ships in the navy. They could attack U-boats on the surface with deck guns. However, depth charges were used to attack submerged enemies. These were essentially bombs dropped into the water that exploded at a set depth to damage and destroy the U-boats. As the Allies began protecting transport shipping by organizing them into convoys with destroyers as escorts, the Germans responded by sending groups of U-boats known as wolfpacks to lay wait for them along their route. During the war, the allies lost over 2,700 transport ships while the Germans lost nearly 800 U-boats.

Image courtesy of Apple TV+

8. Is the movie about a true story?

Greyhound is inspired by events during the Battle of the Atlantic, but the characters and events are fictional. The movie is actually based on a 1955 novel by C S Forester titled The Good Shepherd. Greyhound does a great job portraying the Battle of the Atlantic and the conflict between the German wolfpacks and the Allied convoys.

9. How are the special effects?

One of the best achievements in special effects is if the audience does not even notice them. Greyhound has some great special effects that flow so seamlessly into the movie that you believe you are actually watching a battle between destroyers and U-boats with torpedoes racing through the water and ships exploding and sinking.

Image courtesy of Apple TV+

10. How can I watch Greyhound?

Greyhound is streaming exclusively on Apple TV+ which is a subscription-based service. Apple does offer a 7-day free trial. After that, it is only $4.99 per month. It is definitely worth the cost of a one-month subscription to see this enjoyable movie.

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