The 15:17 To Paris Blu-ray Review
When I first read that director Clint Eastwood was going to make a film detailing the heroics of three Americans who foiled a terrorist plot on moving train in France, my head filled with images of the director’s best work. Sadly, the film I created in my mind is better than THE 15:17 TO PARIS.
We meet young Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Shane in middle school. The three don’t fit in with others (Sadler and Skarlatos have a penchant for wearing camouflage) so they become their own little group. They are all pro- military (Anthony has a FULL METAL JACKET poster on his wall though I think a nice touch would have been one from Eastwood’s HEARTBREAK RIDGE) and play war the way we all used to when we were kids (and when you were allowed to play such games). Each has their own dreams and goals, which finds them one day on a train in France. And if I’ve bored you with the past few sentences, it’s only because I’m preparing you for the movie to follow.
I remember when I saw the film THE AMERICAN I left the theater thinking, “I guess George Clooney wanted to make a film in Italy.” Substitute Clint Eastwood for Clooney, and France for Italy, and you’ll get my initial thoughts after watching this film. For a film that is barely an hour and a half long, we don’t get to the actual terrorist-foiling until there is about 15 mins left in the film. The film begins with a nice set of shots identifying for the audience the terrorist-to be. But that’s it. The majority of the film follows the three characters as they age from teenagers to adults. Failed attempts to complete military courses. Working at Subway. Dealing with life. Eastwood has attempted to make a coming-of-age film with characters that have already aged. In what may be a brilliant move by casting the real Sadler, Skarlatos and Shane as themselves, it doesn’t matter much because the characters aren’t doing anything. Their lives appear to be random, boring lives. You spend the film wishing they’d get to the damn train. And even when they do, there really isn’t anything exciting happening.
The film is also befuddling because of a lack of continuity. People show up that you have no idea who they are. Since the film is based on a true event, I can tell you that it ends with the three Americans receiving France’s Legion of Honor next to another gentleman. Sadly the identity of the fourth gentleman is never revealed and you blink your eyes for a moment because there was a fourth man who helped foil the attack – only it’s not the person on screen. In the name of history, the gentleman featured is the real-life Chris Norman, another passenger who helped subdue the terrorist. The person you are expecting to see, the Frenchman who actually was the first to attempt to disarm the terrorist, is not there as, in real-life, he refused the Legion of Honor because he feared Islamic retribution.
Video: The film is presented in its original 2:39.1 aspect and is clear and sharp.
Audio: The disc comes with three separate English tracks: Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The sound is well mixed, with no loss of dialogue, even during the quieter moments.
“The 15:17 to Paris:” Making Every Second Count (8:11): Short but interesting feature which centers on the casting of the real-life characters.
“The 15:17 to Paris:” Portrait of Courage (12:26): Nice featurette focusing on the three main character and their experiences on the day of the event and afterwards.