Whenever it comes to action, the legendary, prolific Clint Eastwood at the age of 87, as a filmmaker knows how to keep action heroes alive like SULLY, as an actor Clint can still make you jump out of your seat and whistle - remember the line in GRAN TORINO when he says, “ Yeah? I blow a hole in your face and then I go in the house... and I sleep like a baby. You can count on that. We used to stack f**ks like you five feet high in Korea... use ya for sandbags. Or the ultimate one, “Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have f**ked with? That's me.”
In his latest, THE 15:17 TO PARIS Clint Eastwood recreates the evening of August 21, 2015, when a terrorist attack on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris was thwarted by three courageous young Americans traveling through Europe.
The prolific Clint Eastwood in his passion to infuse realisms in the action drama casts the heroes who stopped the attack in his tribute and follows their course of lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack where they rose to the occasion and saved lives of the more than 500 passengers on board.
Seems like a perfect kick for action buffs in general, but things go wrong and unfortunately the tribute turns dry and ends up as a disappointment.
With a running time of just 94 minutes, this could have been a quickie actioner but unfortunately sparring a couple of moments the movie is a banal dull drag that doesn’t excite.
The gimmick to cast real heroes fail as they look reasonably good but fail to evoke any sentiments and we hear limes like “I am bored”, “I feel like life is catapulting me towards something.” Really?
The real life bravery of Stone, Skarlatos, and Sadler is not celebrated in their avatars as actors on screen. Like SULLY, Eastwood uses a real situation but fails to add the momentum and built-up with an actor of repute like Hanks. Here its sheer padding till the actual event occurs when Stone and his friends prevent the attempt of a man carrying an assault rifle and nearly 300 rounds of ammunition. Dorothy Blyskal’s script wastes time in trying to make us engage in incidents that took place years before the attack like tracing the heroes first meeting in school.
Now this could have been much better as a documentary feature involving Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler.
Interestingly, Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar’s PAD MAN is released today, Akshay is playing a character inspired from the life of real-life legend Arunachalam Muruganantham. The comparison may sound vague but there is something to take note of. What if PAD MAN was a feature starring the legendary Arunachalam Muruganantham himself? Like the heroes of Eastwood’s THE 15:17 TO PARIS telling their own story in a feature film. Bollywood has seen biopic on living legends, a movie on Sachin Tendulkar was a docu-feature that had the icon speaking about his life. A movie on M S Dhoni was a complete commercial cinema with a reasonably good actor like Sushant Singh Rajput where the audience in general didn’t mind his love affairs eating some footage.
But here when the casual vacation footage of the trio and before that their childhood scenes makes you cringe and ask why are Clint and Blyskal adamant in adding banal, routine elements to this experiment. Maybe the makers where trying to redefine or add another genre in ‘real’ action feature. Only when the action takes place in train, we get our pulse-raising moment in this feature, which is poor in establishment and drama and that’s not to our satisfaction.