What a refreshing change of pace from the squabbling Gosselins and other assorted family circuses on TLC. “Brace for Impact” crisply recounts the year-old story of Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and his much-celebrated emergency landing of a US Airways flight in the Hudson River, combining passenger interviews with Sullenberger retracing the route in a helicopter as he reflects on what transpired. Narrated by Harrison Ford, this one-hour documentary is essentially about putting a lifetime of experience to use when it mattered most.
Despite writing a book and doing the talk circuit regarding his experience, even Sullenberger still seems a trifle overwhelmed by the media maelstrom that engulfed him and the “hero captain” label he’ll undoubtedly wear till the end of his days. While obviously adding to that lore, “Brace for Impact” meticulously chronicles those events in an understated manner that’s well suited to the style of its ostensible protagonist.
The doc derives its most emotional moments from speaking with those aboard the flight, putting flesh-and-blood faces on the 155 people who survived the abrupt landing, while using the obligatory CGI imagery (boys do love their toys) to recreate the crippled plane’s short journey.
At an hour, “Impact” thankfully remains aloft just long enough to get its point across in paying tribute to Sullenberger’s grace under pressure without overstaying its welcome. If only that were true of more personalities suddenly thrust into the media spotlight — beginning, actually, with some of the denizens of TLC.