Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The 15:17 to Paris Movie Review

Cinescape Magazine is a look at film, tv, comics, video games, and 70's, 80's and 90's nostalgia from the perspective of two normal average joe's that just love movies, in whatever form they come in.

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"You ever feel like life is pushing us towards some greater purpose?"

The 15:17 to Paris

As a life long resident of Sacramento, California's outlying areas (for now), I find it amazing that I had never heard about the Thalys train attack of 2015. I mean the three heroes were from my town and there was even a freaking parade! What the hell was I doing at the time that would warrant such an oversight? So when I was invited by a friend to see Clint Eastwood's (Gran Torino) latest direction, I of course said yes (free movies!), but I also felt like an idiot for not knowing a damn thing about it. Anyways, The 15:17 to Paris brings up a feeling of area pride from its heroes Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos, yet unfortunately that's about it. 

Oddly enough since it is based on actual events, most of the film comes off as a contrived buildup to the incident, even with some of the actual people reenacting their scenes in front of the camera. There is no dispute that those three deserve the recognition that they've received, but don't BS me with fake dialogue that mentions on more than one occasion that these guys are meant for something great. Real life doesn't work that way. I could go on all day about how bad their acting was, and it really was, however their childhood versions were even worse.

Regardless if they're just kids, whoever cast them must've been returning a favor to someone or something, because "wooden" is a nice way to describe their performances. On the other end of the spectrum, the appearances of Jenna Fischer (The Office) and Judy Greer (Jurassic World) show what wasted talent is when there's not much in the script to say. These ladies are far above the material, and almost look bored at the lack of challenge. 

Brief moments from Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!), Tony Hale (Yoga Hosers), and P.J. Byrne (The Wolf of Wall Street), also reminds us of how experienced actors make the newbies seem only that much worse. Don't blink or you'll miss Jaleel "Steve Urkel" White (Family Matters) as a teacher. Now what bugs me the most about Stone, Sadler, and Skarlatos playing themselves, is that we know that these guys are best friends and even that isn't enough to bring out a natural vibe from them in front of the camera. Their dialogue doesn't flow and instead makes it seem as if they hardly know each other. So after all of the flashbacks, workout montages, and filler scenes of traveling across Europe, when we finally get to the incident (which is the best shot part), I'm not exactly excited to be there after such a mediocre set up.

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Bottom line, this may be a wonderful home video for the heroes to show their kids and grandchildren down the road, but The 15:17 to Paris is boring, artificial, and probably the worst movie that Eastwood has ever made. Hell, if his name wasn't on it and his movie posters weren't in some of the backgrounds, I would've never been able to tell. Point is, if you're going to make a film that honors its heroes, then maybe you should also take the time to do it right. Anything else, is just disrespect.

Rating- 1.5 out of 10

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The 15:17 to Paris (2018)

PG-13 | 1h 34min | Biography, Drama | 9 February 2018 (USA)

Three Americans discover a terrorist plot aboard a train while in France.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Dorothy Blyskal (screenplay by), Anthony Sadler (based on the book by)
Stars: Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone

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