It is inevitable that anyone who is passionate about a subject, I don’t care what that subject is (a music group, a film director, a specific period of history…), wants to put the focus, even if it’s just for once, in the anonymous heroes who are never the object of attention by the general public, in the small great moments in which nobody pays attention, in the gestures that go unnoticed, whose exhibition, whose discovery, are, in the end, what justify and nurture that passion.

And that’s exactly what Tom Hanks does in the Apple TV+ movie Greyhound .: recreate through fiction a naval battle that could perfectly have been real in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. A battle without the inevitable dramatic attraction of the front, of the soldiers who see each other’s faces, of the physical confrontation one against one, of children, husbands and brothers who fly through the air in a thousand pieces, the sweat, the faces muddy in sweat, gunpowder and mud. The war genre always puts the emphasis, following a dramatic maxim, on the fronts that made the difference in the confrontations, rarely behind the scenes of the war and practically never in minor combats.So as a fan of World War II it is logical that Tom Hanks chose the Battle of the Atlantic from among all the possible scenarios. It was the perfect vehicle for Hanks to channel heroes no one remembers as a medium. It was the perfect move for a true WWII fan (you know, any subject). So he bought the rights to a fictional historical novel, The Good Shepherd, centered on the Battle of the Atlantic, and wrote the screenplay for the film himself. And being responsible for how the story was going to be told, he decided to fade away. Now I explain it to you.

Greyhoundis Tom Hanks’ love letter to the unsung heroes of World War II, to those ships that carried supplies from the United States to the United Kingdom across the Atlantic Ocean, at the mercy of the feared German U-boats in blind spots. . The logical thing in a war film is that the focus is on the characters, that the characters are infinitely more important than the battle in which they are immersed: they could be in that war or in any other. Hanks proposes, and many have misunderstood this effort, to focus on the battle by showing that these characters actually represent real people, many real people, and that war has no lyrics, no poetry. He wants to universalize his characters. Hanks shows the battle of the Atlantic as it was, without lyrics or epic, in a cold, aseptic way.Even the language is aseptic. There’s no great dialogue in Greyhound , no great speeches, just the orders and directions that were actually given in the heat of battle in actual contention. Greyhound sounds excessively technical, but war, once again, is technical, cold, it is not lyrical, there is no prose. Right, Mr. Hanks? It is one more resource, like photography, like special effects.

It must be recognized that the aseptic vision, aseptic at all, is not, because there are also those house slippers in which the character of Hanks stuffs his feet in that last maneuver. The only well-defined character is that of Hanks, although, I insist, it is a sketch; he’s not a Monet, and he’s not one because he failed to try (let’s see, let’s be serious, Tom Hanks already brought Captain John H. Miller to life in Saving Private Ryanand he showed everything there was to show on the front with a character infinitely more important than the movie and what counted), but precisely because of his desire to universalize the characters. Commander Ernest Krause needed a name and a few details about his life so that the film would not be a mere documentary shot with the resources of Hollywood. Because any story needs at least one character to interest us human beings. Here the conflict, the second fundamental element of any story, did not have to be invented.Here’s what we know about Krause: he’s a Navy commander who’s never seen combat, tasked with protecting a convoy of ships alongside sailors infinitely younger than he is, but far more experienced in war and space. sea. Hanks’s character is a conscientious man, who takes his mission to heart, even to the point of not eating; he is a just man, who unlike what really happened in the Atlantic in real life, does not think he is above his men, neither good nor evil; he is a man who trusts himself (yes, he doubts in hindsight, but not in the heat of battle, which, per se, is a lesson in leadership, see how things are); he is also a religious person; in a context of racism, he is not racist (the movie has a great scene that will surely go unnoticed, but that is pure Tom Hanks: the moment in which they throw the crew that has died into the sea and one of the corpses does not finish falling, catching dramatically on the flag).

Actually there are not many details, but they are enough. The rest is a universal battle in the sense that it accentuates the anonymity of its protagonists: why focus only on a few? Why give them only a few attributes? And that is Greyhound , and it never pretends to be anything else.

Is Greyhound based on real events? Well no. The film (and the novel it adapts) is ‘inspired by’, but not ‘based on’. Again, based on a specific battle (and the Battle of the Atlantic is not a specific battle but the fight between the Allied Forces and the Nazi Navy in the Atlantic Ocean over six years, between September 1939 and May 1945 ) would have detracted from what Hanks wanted to say.