The 15:17 to Paris Movie Review

Feb 09, 2018, 17:24 IST | Johnson Thomas

This Clint Eastwood directed film doesn't seem like one of his regulars. There's no contemplation, no great revelation and neither is there any depth to the telling

The 15:17 to Paris

The 15:17 to Paris
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, P.J. Byrne, Bryce Gheisar, Tony Hale, Thomas Lennon
Rating: rating

This Clint Eastwood directed film doesn't seem like one of his regulars. There's no contemplation, no great revelation and neither is there any depth to the telling. It also has a short, less than 2-hour runtime so it gives an appearance of a quickie effort from the director who has made far more meaningful representations of terrorism, war and heroism than this one inglorious effort. Probably Eastwood has realised he is running out of time and telling as many stories for posterity, before his time is up.

The story is about ordinary people becoming heroic when an opportunity is thrust on them. Aug 21, 2015, in the early evening, there were media reports of a thwarted terrorist attack on Thalys train 9364 bound for Paris. Eastwood takes us through the attempt and the courageous intervention brought on by three fearless young American friends who overcame childhood struggles to forge a bond so strong that it helped them save the lives of more than 500 passengers on the train.

The men, in fact, play themselves in the movie- Airman First Class Spencer Stone, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and college student Anthony Sadler come up against a Morrocan gunman named Ayoub El Khazzani(Ray Corasani), who exited a washroom strapped with weapons, shot a would-be hero in the neck and incapacitated a few others before Stone tackled Khazzani, his two friends and Chris Norman, a 62-year-old Businessman, kept hitting Khazzani with their fists. Stone received several knife slashes in the process and yet he and his friends locked him in a chokehold and kept the shooting victim alive until the train was able to stop.

Watch the trailer of The 15:17 to Paris

Bravery awards, Knights of the legion of honour, public parades, lecture opportunities and numerous other awards were par for the course thereafter. Dorothy Byskal based her script on the book by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Jeffrey E. Stern. Tom Stern's camerawork is good enough but not of the high order we've come to expect from him and editor Blu Murray plys it in an uninteresting spiel. Sadler, Stone and Skarlatos are fresh but they fail to raise the bar while retracing their steps. There is no nuance to their performances and that's a failing for the recanting of a tragedy averted.

The action is relegated to the final act so what we get before that is entirely banal and irritating. Good or bad, choosing the real heroes to re-enact their real-life experience may have been an out-of-the-box idea but it's not one that can sustain a largely undramatic film of this sort!

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