By Shannon O’Brien/reporter
In Clint Eastwood’s new movie, The 15:17 to Paris, heroism is the theme.
The film is based on the true story of three men whose bravery made them heroes in a Paris-bound train held hostage by a terrorist in August 2015. Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, the three young men who saved passengers in real life, play themselves in the movie.
The first half of the film was slow and amateurish, mainly because this is the first movie these men have ever done. This was Dorothy Blyskal’s first time writing a screenplay as well, and it was easy to tell.
The film starts by following the boys through childhood. There is no left-field humor, character revelation or dramatic conflict between scenes until the actual scene of the men saving the train.
It is a simple exposition, including flashbacks to their youth, leading up to the dramatic ending, so viewers have to be patient. Since Blyskal veered from the truth in parts to tell this story, she could have written the script to be more interesting at the beginning.
Once the scene on the train starts, Eastwood definitely makes his point about the heroism of ordinary men. But the emotion was almost too fake. It could have been that the rest of the movie wasn’t as entertaining or heart-tugging, so when the action starts it’s almost a relief because it means the movie is almost over.
What happens in the final minutes is basically all there is to the so-called plot.
The film gives off a sense of being about Christianity but gives little real sense of what it means for the people involved.
The style of this movie is all over the place. Eastwood’s classical style is out of place with the amateur actors whose performances would seem more polished if Eastwood was not so persistent with heavy close-ups and camera pivots.
The non-actors are paired with experienced actors, like Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, Jaleel White and others, who, even downplaying their acting professionalism, still had a way of making the non-actors look out of place.
Eastwood seems like he is testing the limits of minimalism in this movie, seeing how much he can take away and still accomplish a dramatic impact.
Regardless of the good intentions behind making this movie, it does not live up to the excitement the real-life story promises. With a little more time and effort, it could have really been an awesome movie.
The heroes of that day deserve at least that.