In January 2009, when Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger reluctantly went on television to explain how he landed a bird-struck US Airways jet in the Hudson River without losing any of his 155 passengers and crew — an event immediately dubbed The Miracle on the Hudson — he repeatedly declined to accept the new label stuck to his chest: hero. His typical response: “I had a job to do.”

At the time, many of us — still shaken by 9/11 and gnawed-at by two Middle East wars — wanted a larger-than-life savior, but instead we got a private, soft-spoken fellow who fled the spotlight quickly. He’s now back in it, played by a white-haired Tom Hanks, in Clint Eastwood’s “Sully.”

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“Sully” casts the pilot as not just a hero but a victim of both post-traumatic stress and a heartless bureaucracy. The film’s first images are of Sullenberger’s fiery nightmare version of the landing, followed by scenes of the pilot alone, shaken and brooding as he prepares for questioning by a hostile National Transportation Safety Board. His blood pressure is up, his wife (Laura Linney) is trapped at home by rabid reporters and the only one who understands Sullenberger’s still-in-the-foxhole mentality is co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart).

The shellshocked veteran is a figure Eastwood has put up on the screen before, most recently in his searing Iraq War film “American Sniper.” The screenplay for “Sully,” by Todd Komarnicki (from Sullenberger’s book) plays this angle over all others, and the result is a somewhat sullen film starring a tamped-down Hanks. The re-created crash is gripping (even if Eastwood’s attempt to “introduce” us to some passengers feels like the start of a 1970s disaster movie), but “Sully” mostly pits Sullenberger against the second-guessers and numbers-crunchers at the NTSB. The motivation of these characters is never clear. There’s a sense that Eastwood has turned Sullenberger into every self-sacrificing soldier who returned home — from Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam — to an ungrateful country.

Does that shoe really fit Capt. Sullenberger? All the guy ever claimed to be was a good pilot who made the right call. That ought to make him hero enough.