When the United States entered World War II in 1941, a huge challenge for its military was getting to where the fighting was, safely. Troops and equipment had to be moved over the water, even when protection from airborne forces was sporadic. In the Atlantic, this left Allied convoys vulnerable, for harrowingly long periods, to attack by the advanced German submarines known as U-boats.
“Greyhound,” directed by Aaron Schneider and starring Tom Hanks, who also wrote its screenplay, keeps watch on the Navy Commander Ernest Krause and his men and ships during such a period. And yet “Greyhound” is a surprisingly ordinary picture, given the star’s prior track record in war movies and television shows.
The movie is adapted from “The Good Shepherd,” a 1955 novel by C.S. Forester, a popular writer of naval adventures in the 20th century (Captain Horatio Hornblower was his invention). Forester’s novel is an account of not just the action but of Krause’s shifting interior states as tension and casualties mount.