15:17 to Paris is a true story based on the heroism that three young American men showed while traveled from Amsterdam to Paris while on a European multi-country sight seeing trip. While on the train, an Islamic terrorist attempted to open fire on innocent people in a train car. By some miracle, they managed to tackle the terrorist to the ground and gain control over him, saving only god knows how many lives. And granted that I saw liberals attempting to shit all over this movie, I figured that it must be a gem that I have to see. So I basically grabbed the fiancé and said “We’re going!”
I’ll start out by stating what I really enjoyed. First things first, I’m a fan of Clint Eastwood’s directed movies. I loved films such as ‘Trouble with the Curve’, ‘Hereafter’, ‘American Sniper’, ‘Sully’, and a boatload more. He seems to enjoy bringing lots of true life stories to the screen and giving his audience an emotional impact that other directors often lack. He’s also one of the only directors where if I learn he’s directing, it’s pretty much a done deal that I’ll see the movie. Not only because he called millennials pansies, but also because I truly do love his story telling and directing. And the man ain’t no spring chicken. Yet he’s still going.
I also liked that Clint Eastwood had the original trip who actually lived the experience acting this film in the leading roles to give it more authenticity. He did the same for the rescue crews in boats in his film Sully portraying the airliner that crashed into the Hudson starring Tom Hanks. It’s just a special thing that I think adds a bit to the film. I will admit that at times it did feel a bit flat for this reason, given that none of these men were trained actors, their lines sometimes felt a bit stale, but that’s also the reason I didn’t go in with high expectations. I was prepared for this film to be unmemorable and mediocre because the actors weren’t professionally trained. But oddly enough, that wasn’t a significant drawback.
I also liked that they chose to film in many of the same settings that the young men saw on their trips. If for no more reason than the beautiful European eye candy of architecture and such.
The film starts out with two single mothers having a meeting with a school teacher that seemed to think putting their boys on medications would help them to stop misbehaving in class. The mothers were obviously upset by this and who wouldn’t be? We see three young boys struggling to make it in school, without a father in the home, mothers genuinely trying to make their lives easier, and feeling as though they’re failing because the boys don’t seem to behave while in class. But regardless of struggles during their youth, they all manage to find their way on some level. And as it’s shown later in the film after one of them takes a break from the military, their lives which might have appeared a bit lost and chaotic, all brought them to the same place at the same time, allowing them to take down a terrorist who otherwise would have caused an insane amount of bloodshed.
The pacing of the film did feel quite slow during parts simply because the actual event of them saving the day was only about fifteen minutes of the whole movie and parts of it are spliced throughout before you see the event in its entirety. But I imagine having to create a back story for these characters who were real life figures took a considerable amount of time and effort. It does cause the relatively short film to feel slow in parts, but given that we do see the finale toward the end, we do feel that the plot line is progressing toward something substantial.
Overall, this was a good film. Not my favorite from Eastwood, not even by a mile. But overall, a good film about three Americans who saved countless lives and only managed to do so because they had military experience to back them up. They were in the right place at the right time and it would have been a tragic day for the French and many families had they not been there.
I give this film four stars out of five. It loses a star primarily because the pacing did feel off and the acting was flat at times, but I can forgive these flaws given that the aim was for authenticity in the story telling and through the use of the real life heroes over trained actors. It also pissed off a lot of people because it portrayed the terrorist in an accurate way and didn’t show leniency toward Islam like so many mainstream media outlets would want…so yeah…bonus points there. I recall when ‘Patriot’s Day’ came out many leftists had a similar reaction claiming that it wasn’t sympathetic to terrorists and some had the same reaction to this film. And that’s just another reason why I love Eastwood. He tells it like it is.