From 1939 until the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, the Battle of the Atlantic was the most protracted campaign of World War II. German U-boats sank thousands of Allied ships, including tankers supplying oil to the UK and troopships carrying soldiers and supplies across the Atlantic.
The Allies responded with a convoy system that relied on destroyers like the Greyhound to escort merchant ships through the submarine-infested waters.
FACT VS FICTION
Greyhound is based on the 1955 novel The Good Shepherd by CS Forester. Although the book and movie are fictional, they tell the story of those who served in the Battle of the Atlantic convoys. The events depicted in the movie were faced by the real sailors who served in the war.
The convoy system was developed by the allies to safeguard the precious cargo from the ever-present danger of Nazi submarines. The Allies would organize merchant ships into groups and escort them with heavily armed naval vessels.
WHAT'S GREYHOUND ABOUT?
The film focuses on a convoy attempting to make their way from America to England. It lurches from explosive action to tense drama, as the unseen threat that lurks below the surface takes its toll on the captain and his crew.
The realism of the film is what makes it so engaging. Tom Hanks does a great job of bringing to life the challenges and fears that sailors faced during the crossing. In addition, the movie was shot on a real destroyer from the era, which gives it an added layer of authenticity.
In the opening scenes, Krause (Tom Hanks) suggests that he and his long-term girlfriend get married before he ships out. Her advice is to wait until he returns, highlighting the danger of the mission he's about to undertake.
During the war, over 3,500 merchant ships and 175 warships were sunk in the Battle of the Atlantic, resulting in around 72,000 fatalities.
The core action takes place in the middle stretch of the journey, known as the “Black Pit”. This was an area where convoys sailed beyond air support from Britain or America, putting them at greater risk from the Wolf Pack.
Krause is constantly busy keeping his convoy together and safe from the U-boats. In many ways, this movie feels like a classic war film in the style of In Which We Serve and The Cruel Sea. It's a tense, character-driven story that brings to life the challenges and dangers of naval warfare.
IS GREYHOUND ANY GOOD?
Even if you're not a fan of war movies, Greyhound is definitely worth watching for the spectacular visuals. And of course, it's always enjoyable to watch Tom Hanks in just about anything.
The movie is a tribute to the brave men and women who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic. It is well-done, with excellent acting by Hanks and the supporting cast.
The naval battle sequences are realistic and gripping and the story moves quickly and provides a good overview of this critical campaign.
Overall, Greyhound is a solid WWII film. It's not as good as Saving Private Ryan or Hanks' other nautical role Captain Phillips, but it's worth a watch for fans of the genre.
WHERE CAN I WATCH GREYHOUND MOVIE?
The film was initially scheduled for cinema release but was pulled from theatres due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thankfully, Apple TV released Greyhound on its streaming platform.
You can watch it for no additional cost if you have a subscription. If you haven't signed up for Apple TV yet, you can get a trial subscription by clicking this link.
Check out our review of the film Finch starring Tom Hanks if you're a fan of his movies. Finch is also available on Apple TV.