The Movie: 7.5/10
A movie that claims to be a “true story” is often a bit of a con job. However, when you have the real people in the movie who lived through the event that inspired the movie…I’m in.
We get a lot of news these days and unfortunately the more traumatic, most devastating seem to stand out the most, and stay in our conversations longer. The problem is, we don’t even hang on to those for very long before we move on to something new that has happened. I’ll be honest, I didn’t remember this story, the men on a train on its way to Paris stopped a terrorist attack, which would have been a big news story, but it’s been 3 years so my fickle mind has moved on.
I’m glad Clint Eastwood isn’t like me. He has taken this story, brought us the real people who lived it, and made it into something unlike a documentary, and yet in our human tradition of story telling, made it more accessible. Having the real people “play” themselves may not be everyone’s favorite method, some folks think the acting is not great, but for me it adds a whole layer of authenticity that you can’t get if big stars with big egos play the roles.
The pacing and editing of the movie drew me in from the start. It takes us through the timeline of 3 of the young men involved from the time they were young boys, through to the moment of the attempted terrorist attack on the train that day. It feels a bit heavy-handed in the “this is your fate” department, by the leading line of each story taking these people directly to that moment in time when they were there to save the day. I’m not a believer in fate or purpose or any of that, however, we all live our lives making choices that lead us to each moment of our lives, and in this case the choices our leading men made through their lives took them on a trip around Europe and coincidentally on that train that day….yes coincidence, I said it. That doesn’t take away from the reality that they were willing to act, willing to put themselves at risk to bring down an asshole who clearly was determined to harm many people who day.
I like the look of the movie. There is a big of hand-held, but not too much so it’s not annoying. It’s got a very functional direction style, which is down to Eastwood. He’s not into the fancy stuff. I like the quietness of many of the scenes, and the awkwardness of the characters from time to time. I think in life we are all a lot more unsure of ourselves than most movie characters, and with the real young men as themselves we get a bit of that honest people behavior, which I think adds to the story.
Overall, if you like stories of bravery and triumph over the jerks of the world, this is a movie you might just cheer about. If you prefer Bruce Willis saving the world by blowing up an asteroid and sacrificing himself in some fictional version of Hollywood heroism…..watch this movie first and then finish the evening with your blockbuster. You’ll get the full spectrum of real life bravery from the quiet but unwavering bravery of actual people to the glamorous type with lots of special effects.
- The 15:17 To Paris: Making Every Second Count (8 Minutes) – Clint Eastwood and members of cast and crew discuss how this true story was adapted to the big screen.
- The 15:17 To Paris: Portrait Of Courage (12 Minutes) – A look at the scene from the film with narration from the men involved.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Audio & Video: 8/10
Shot by long time Eastwood cinematographer Tom Stern, 15:17 to Paris looks good on Blu-ray and could pass for a European Tourism film. One problem I did notice is the film comes on a BD50 disc but only half of it is used. Seems wasteful to me when you could just up to bit-rate some more and add even more quality to the presentation.
Dolby Atmos is the order of the day here and while the film does not have a ton of action they really use the surround sound to convey a lot of different events. Take the part where the three friends visit a large nightclub and dance the night away. Dialog is cleanly rendered and always central in the sound-mix. The gunshot when it does come is mixed very loud for maximum impact.
Overall Score 7.5/10