Review: The 15:17 to Paris

On August 21st 2015, three American’s on holiday stopped a terrorist who attempted to open fire on a packed train. The world watched on as news as the story unfolded and it was a huge moment of pride for humanity as a whole. Clint Eastwood continues his recent run of making real life heroic actions into films, but with this one, he has cast the real life heroes to play themselves. It’s a move that was meant to get the chemistry of the real life friend to come out naturally on screen, but actually, ends up derailing the entire project.

Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alex Skarlatos are genuine real life heroes, there’s no denying that. What they aren’t however, is actors.  

Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alex Skarlatos are genuine real life heroes, there’s no denying that. What they aren’t however, is actors. Every interaction they have seems wooden and it’s as if they’re being fed their lines through an earpeice. Eastwood wanted the authenticity of their friendship to come alive on screen, but that really is the last thing I thought when watching them.

The run up to how all three heroes ended up where they were on that fateful day isn’t inspiring or interesting in the slightest.  

Another main issue is that this isn’t really a story worth telling, except for the train scene. The run up to how all three heroes ended up where they were on that fateful day isn’t inspiring or interesting in the slightest. We really don’t need to see them backpacking around Europe for half the film, especially when they basically just sight see. It’s like being shown that really annoying relative’s slide show of their holiday and you have to fake an interest.

I don’t feel it’s fair to blame the leads for their performances as they’re not actors, the concept just seems like a baffling misfire. If they didn’t want to cast known actors, maybe casting unknown actors could’ve have helped as we wouldn’t have seen them as they’re respective selves. But the film doesn’t just fail on that front. It manages to turn a heroic moment into a total snooze fest as well as concentrating on a montage of European cities rather than anything else. Yes the train scene is well executed, but by then it’s too little, too late.

4/10

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