The 15:17 to Paris
I’m very mixed on Clint Eastwood’s filmography especially in recent years. He is responsible for some great work from behind the camera but that hasn’t really been the case in recent years. The 15:17 to Paris looked a bit bland and like a run of the mill affair when it comes to recreation of recent global events in film. It didn’t help that critics weren’t too pleased but of course, I then remembered that I never listen to critics. I’ll tell you, the film is flawed and has slow passages but I liked it more than I thought I would.
The film is based on the real life events about a train that had a terror attack foiled on its way from Amsterdam to Paris. The attack was stopped primarily by three men who were best friends growing up. One of them attempts to join the military and the film focuses on his trials to make it in the military, his relationship with his friends, and his quest to find out what his purpose is and how he can truly save some lives.
The first note that needs to be made about the film is that the three lead actors cast in the film are the actual three who acted during the real life incident. With that however, comes a loss in quality of acting in the film. I get that Eastwood wanted to go with an authentic element by having the guys who lived it tell the story, but you could just tell that these weren’t actors as they weren’t always convincing or delivering lines properly. The film does spend an extended amount of time going into backstory as well which a times was quite noticeable.
Otherwise, I enjoyed it. Some of the cinematography and locations (especially when the cast is on vacation) is gorgeous. The last twenty minutes or so are quite intense and satisfying. The event was something that isn’t enough to warrant an entire feature film so I get that we had to go off point. Was the film necessary? No. It is however better than some of the stuff I’ve seen from Eastwood in recent years so I’ll take it.