The 15:17 to Paris review by Bobby Blakey
Clint Eastwood is one of the greatest directors of our time which just adds to his legacy after offering up so many memorable performances as an actor as well. His latest film 15:17 to Paris took an amazing series of events and not only brought them to the big screen he cast the actual heroes from that were involved to play themselves, but can this movie bring the events to realistic life or will it fail to pay these heroes real tribute?
15:17 to Paris follows the early evening of August 21, 2015 where the world watched in stunned silence as the media reported a thwarted terrorist attack on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris—an attempt prevented by three courageous young Americans traveling through Europe. The film follows the course of the friends’ lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack. Throughout the harrowing ordeal, their friendship never wavers, making it their greatest weapon and allowing them to save the lives of the more than 500 passengers on board. Going into this film I was a little concerned on how well they would manage to not only turn a situation that only lasted a short amount of time and using non-actors to make a film that would actually work. To my surprise it worked better than I expected but still doesn’t completely work.
At first the story feels like it is really forcing itself to offer up more information than actually needed in order to get to the whole point of it all. After getting through the entire film it became more clear that it was used to show the bond that these three guys have developed through their lives and the skills they learned leading up to the heroic events. The issue comes in that the story is never overly exciting or compelling until it gets to those moments on the train. Maybe it is the anticipation of what is to come or the fact that real life just isn’t overly exciting. Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler to a fine job here and manage to not only give decent performances, but make it work way better than I would have expected.
The rest of the film is filled with a great cast including Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, Tony Hale and Thomas Lennon who all do fine, but none of them really felt like they were all in. Ironically enough outside of the last scene of the film with no dialogue these actors have little to no scenes with the real life heroes. While the lead up is not overly impressive the actual moments of their heroic act works great. It is shot realistically, aggressive and pulls no punches. It completely changes the tone from the rest of the film and reminds you why this film exists at all. This is one of those movies that deserves to be seen for no other reason than their actions deserve the praise and seeing it unfold with the real life people gives it a different kind of impact.
This release not only includes the film but bonus content including featurettes that take you further behind bringing these heroes story to the big screen. Witness the heroic act of bravery when 15:17 to Paris available now on 4K Digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.