Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On 15:17 TO PARIS
From Clint Eastwood comes THE 15:17 TO PARIS, which tells the real-life story of three men whose brave act turned them into heroes during a highspeed railway ride. The film will be released in theaters beginning February 9, 2018 and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.
In the early evening of August 21, 2015, the world watched in stunned silence as the media reported a thwarted terrorist attack on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris-an attempt prevented by three courageous young Americans traveling through Europe. The film follows the course of the friends' lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack. Throughout the harrowing ordeal, their friendship never wavers, making it their greatest weapon and allowing them to save the lives of the more than 500 passengers on board.
The heroic trio is comprised of Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone, who play themselves in the film. Starring alongside them are Jenna Fischer ("Hall Pass," TV's "The Office"); Judy Greer ("War for the Planet of the Apes"); Ray Corasani (TV's upcoming "The Long Road Home"); PJ Byrne ("The WOLF of Wall Street"); Tony Hale (TV's "Veep"); and Thomas Lennon ("Transformers: Age of Extinction"). Paul-Mikél Williams plays the younger Anthony, Bryce Gheisar plays the younger Alek, and William Jennings plays the younger Spencer?.
Eastwood ("Sully," "American Sniper") directs from a screenplay by Dorothy Blyskal, based on the book by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Jeffrey E. Stern. Eastwood also produces the film, along with Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera and Jessica Meier. The film's executive producer is Bruce Berman.
See what the critics had to say so far:
A.O. Scott, The New York Times: "But the thing to admire about "The 15:17 to Paris" is precisely its artlessness. Mr. Eastwood, who has long favored a lean, functional directing style, practices an economy here that makes some of his earlier movies look positively baroque. He almost seems to be testing the limits of minimalism, seeing how much artifice he can strip away and still achieve some kind of dramatic impact. There is not a lot of suspense, and not much psychological exploration, either. A certain blunt power is guaranteed by the facts of the story, and Mr. Eastwood doesn't obviously try for anything more than that. But his workmanlike absorption in the task at hand is precisely what makes this movie fascinating as well as moving. Its radical plainness is tinged with mystery."
Chris Cabin, Collider: "Though the events are no DOUBT heroic, what Eastwood has decided to hook onto is the experience of these men reliving the act as performance, surrounded by well-know actors and actresses like Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, and Urkel himself, Jaleel White. The use of performers that are most familiar from TV - Reno 911's Thomas Lennon and Veep's Tony Hale also appear - not only alludes to the breadth between real life as compared to what's seen on TV and the fickleness of memory but also the feeling of alienation from friends, family, and others after such a traumatic event."
Owen Gleiberman, Variety: "If you go into "The 15:17 to Paris" with no idea that you're watching three young men play themselves, re-enacting the moment of their own valor (and let's be clear: However much the film is advertised, plenty of people - probably most - will go in having no idea), you'll see a docudrama that looks convincing enough, with three performers who sort of resemble movie stars (they're tall and handsome, with a natural-born cock-of-the-walk 'tude), but who all seem a bit unsure in their roles. Which is a little ironic."
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "Except that, weirdly, the attack is not the main event. That comes one step later when Eastwood, with almost avant garde cheek, uses actual footage of French President François Hollande presenting the three men with the Légion d'honneur and we seamlessly cut away to the actors playing their adoring mothers and relatives. Even here, though, he can't resist slathering syrupy music on the soundtrack to make sure we realise that it's an emotional moment.
The attack itself is robustly and forthrightly shot, without the nerve-twisting horror of Paul Greengrass's 9/11 movie United 93, it is true, but that was a different situation. It is all over pretty quickly. It seems almost anticlimactic and detached. Perhaps that is faithful to the experience itself."