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15.17 to Paris, The


Stars: Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, William Jennings, Bryce Gheisar, Paul-Mikel Williams, Thomas Lennon, P.J. Byrne, Tony Hale

Director: Clint Eastwood

Three ordinary youngsters - Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone - bond while growing up in Sacramento.

Grown up, the American friends travel to Europe in 2015 where - in true tourist tradition - they enjoy themselves taking selfies against historic backgrounds ad having a helluva nothing-barred time in Venice, Berlin and Amsterdam before going to Paris, taking the eponymous train and blazing into action to become unique - even by Tinsel Town standards - and unexpected heroes who blaze into credible action on the speeding express when an armed terrorist sets out to massacre the helpless passengers.

Let’s face it - the central storyline is pure Hollywood.

But sometimes real-life leaves Hollywood behind.

Sadler, former Oregon National Guardsman Skarlatos, and one-time U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Stone did just that.

So far, so routine.

Except that here Eastwood (making his shortest film as director) and armed with Dorothy Blyskal's to-the-point screenplay delivers a riveting thriller that casts its three real-life heroes as themselves.

The trio convincingly pull it off, all the more enjoyably because they do not attempt any of the all-too-frequent to-camera excesses so often created by professional actors dedicated to showing off while protecting (over-egging?) their image.

The film scores strongly, too, in line with previous Eastwood fact-based offerings like American Sniper and Sully.

Says Eastwood: 'It has been a conscious choice to tell heroic stories… I just do the stories that come along and interest me. Some feats are exceptional, and beneficial to society, and it’s nice when you can tell a story like that'.

Which Eastwood (well served, in particular, by editor Blu Murray) does memorably here, even if he is seen (wrongly in my opinion) to mar his auteur status in the process.

Alan Frank

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
93 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 03 Mar 2018