Review: “The 15:17 to Paris”
“The 15:17 to Paris,” though based on an extraordinary true story and containing great messages about bravery and heroism, made for a rather disappointing feature film, especially with a hot-shot director (Clint Eastwood) leading it.
“The 15:17 to Paris” is the story of the heroes in a 2015 event known as the Thalys train attack. In a train headed from Amsterdam to Paris, a man with a gun went on a rampage. Passengers heroically worked together to stop him and help those who were injured, preventing what is suspected to have been a major tragedy. The men who helped, three Americans and one British man, were honored by the French government with Legion of Honor medals, “France’s highest recognition” (CNN).
A heavily advertised aspect of this Clint Eastwood film was the casting. Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone, the heroes of the attack and authors of the book about their experience, titled “The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes,” portrayed themselves in the film based upon their novel.
Though an intriguing idea, this casting decision seemed to diminish the impact of the film. The men were certainly not professional actors like their castmates, including Jenna Fischer and Judy Greer, and the somewhat trite writing was not to their benefit.
Though only about one hour and 20 minutes long, the film seemed much longer for many reasons. Trailers for the movie were misleading, making the film out to be an action-filled ordeal. However, the action only lasts about 10 minutes at most, and the first hour or so details the rather mundane aspects of the heroes’ lives, all the way from middle school.
Once the story moved on to Skarlatos, Sadler, and Stone’s adult lives, everything became extremely banal. It was unique in the sense that viewers really saw the day-to-day lives of these people. It emphasized the fact that their lives were extremely ordinary before something extraordinary happened to them. However, the execution could have been better.
Overall, I would say that “The 15:17 to Paris” was a classic case of good intentions gone wrong. Meant to be a feel-good, American-to-the-core, inspirational story for all families to enjoy, it fell short of its dream.