Last Passenger Blu-ray Review
Dr. Lewis Shaler (Dougray Scott, Netflix’s HEMLOCK GROVE) is trying to catch a few minutes of sleep on the train home from London. His son, Max (Joshua Kaynama, in his debut), would rather play. Shaler agrees, because a game of rock-paper-scissors with his boy is always more important than shuteye.
Shaler meets Sarah Barwell (Kara Tointon, who appeared on the BBC soap opera EASTENDERS), a pretty blonde who takes to both Lewis and Max. She looks at Max’s drawings and flashes smiles at Shaler. With his stop approaching, the two bid their farewells and agree to contact each other. And then the train blows past the platform.
Shaler calls for the conductor and yanks on the emergency brake cords, neither of which stops the train. Their concern leads Shaler and Sarah to other passengers, including upper-class older bloke Peter Carmichael (David Schofield, 2012’s LORD OF TEARS), Jan Klimowski (Iddo Goldberg, 2012’s AND WHILE WE WERE HERE), who is made a chief suspect almost immediately, and elderly woman (Lindsay Duncan, Roger Michell’s LE WEEK-END), who seems to exist solely to have a heart attack. After the necessary introductions, the train starts to rock, sparks start to fly and the speed reaches 100 miles per hour, and it quickly becomes apparent that the train is headed for disaster.
LAST PASSENGER has the sort of plot that one would expect to be greenlit as a SPEED knockoff. But it’s been two decades since the Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock actioner was released, and so it might be expected that it’s even cheaper than that.
But LAST PASSENGER, after trudging through a slow first act (the passengers don’t realize the train has become runaway until a third of the way through), actually provides some solid thrills. Debut director Omid Nooshin (who co-wrote the screenplay with Andrew Love and who was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for his direction) keeps the pace moving so that the viewer can be on edge for as long as the action is present. Aiding to the atmosphere is cinematographer Angus Hudson (2006’s CASHBACK), who creates a claustrophobic environment that makes the viewer feel like the passengers will never escape.
The issues arise when the movie tries to be a mystery. The audience is less curious about who is causing the mayhem and why than the mayhem itself. They want to see the train bursting through barriers, smashing cars and characters leaping from crashing public transportation while helicopters fly overhead (as seen on the promotional artwork), and there just isn’t enough of that for the movie to be consistent.
LAST PASSENGER doesn’t bring anything new to any of the genres it falls under (mystery, action, disaster), nor does it create the suspense of the Agatha Christie novels and Alfred Hitchcock films that must have partly inspired it, but it is still a fairly exciting movie, so long as the viewer can get past the obvious flaws and accept that medical school taught Shaler how to make a bomb out of a fire extinguisher.
Video: 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-5 AVC codec. This high-definition transfer features fine details and textures, as well as stable colors.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English. The dialogue is clean and the sound effects heighten the tension.
Featurette (3:20): This short piece includes behind-the-scenes footage, clips and interviews to offer a look at LAST PASSENGER.
B-Roll (5:57) also houses behind-the-scenes footage from the production.
Set Design (4:12): Production designer Jon Bunker discusses his work.
Sound Design (2:21): Sound design editor Eilam Hoffman discusses how the SFX enhanced the movie’s excitement.
Visual Effects (3:07): Visual effects supervisor Tim Smit touches on the various effects and tricks used in the movie.
Sound Bites (32:09) includes leftover interview segments with Dougray Scott, Kara Tointen, Iddo Goldberg, David Schofield and more.