“I don’t know, ma’am. I just didn’t want my family finding out that I died hiding under a table.”
From director Clint Eastwood, The 15:17 to Paris tells the story of three young men, two being active military, that stop a terrorist attack that was to take place on a train to Paris. The events are true, so true in fact, the real three men (or heroes) portray themselves in the film. Now, this was a leap of faith for Eastwood to cast non-actors in big roles such as this. But nevertheless, even if popular actors did portray these characters, it would not have saved the film from the encompassing disappointment of the overall narrative.
It’s hard for Eastwood to make a bad film. With so many directorial accomplishments, I will say that Eastwood is among some great directors of his time. However, like a few of his missteps, The 15:17 to Paris marks yet another bleak moment in Eastwood’s career. The story that surrounds this film goes in lengthy detail about the three men, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, as they go from childhood, all the way up to the date of the attack. The film has nothing more to go on except what makes these guys the heroes that they are. It wasn’t until about 15 minutes into the movie that I realized that I had absolutely no interest in the “great detail” of their childhood. Sure people thought they wouldn’t amount to anything, but that mentality from others continues until these guys actually save people lives. It’s like people said, “wow, you were actually worth a damn,” only after they saved the lives on the people on the train. With that being said, the actual attack maybe lasts 10 minutes of the film. It remains just a blip on the radar.
As for the acting in this film, it was mediocre at best. Judy Greer and Jenna Fisher, who play the main mothers in this film, were lacking in their portrayals. It was really hard for me to believe anything that was coming out of their mouth. Their portrayals need to be included somewhere in a Lifetime movie. Their characters came across bleak and, at times, a little preachy. In the case of the real life heroes, well, I didn’t expect much. To be honest, I was a little impressed with Stone’s and Sadler’s acting. It wasn’t Oscar worthy, but it was decent. However, for Skarlatos, I felt as though he was reading his lines off a piece of paper, which wouldn’t surprise me, since he had a computer screen in front of him for the majority of his lines. However, I refuse to judge these three men on their acting, because they’re not professionals. What I will grade, is how on earth did Eastwood let that acting slip by and think it was good?
Now, before I get in trouble, I’m not saying these men should be disregarded for their valiant efforts on that train. I mean, they were able to do something that I have no idea if I could ever have the courage to do. However, The 15:17 to Paris remains a disappointment in the fact that the film is dry and ridiculously filled with fluff. For those of you who are military members, you may enjoy this movie. If you remain outside that small group of people, my advice is to just wait until this film comes out on blu-ray.
The 15:17 to Paris
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Judy Greer, and Jenna Fisher