You ever watch those straight to home video movies that clearly feels like they didn't deserve to be shown on the big screen? One of those movies that only have one real main set piece to showcase, and because of that the rest of the story feels like filler or padding? Well, this feels like one of those films. Which is unfortunate for me to have to say, because this is based on the true life story of these individuals who took heroic action to save lives when it was needed. I was hoping the movie lived up to what they accomplished.
I suppose I should address the fact that they actually didn't use actors to play the roles of these heroes, and whether that decision affected the movie in a positive or negative way. The positive is that it does give off an authenticity to the real life people of this story. The negative is that due to the fact they aren't real actors, there are many moments when they feel very stilted in delivering their lines. The other negative is that it primarily focuses on one individual, Spencer Stone, and the rest of these true life people are essentially just the supporting cast. Is it a story about these real life heroes, or just the one hero?
Despite that directorial choice, it does feel like due to the material at hand, there really isn't much that could have been done to stretch out Spencer Stone's story into a full length movie. It should have been a short film, or a documentary at best. The majority of the time in this film adaptation is that we are just waiting and waiting and waiting for that pivotal moment in the train. That has been the focus of the marketing push to what this movie is about after all. That particular scene itself was very engaging, but it's unfortunately the outlier to the rest of the movie.
If it isn't already obvious, this is absolutely not an action thriller of a movie. This is a movie about Spencer Stone, who is just trying to find a reason to his life, and thinks that fate (and God) is leading him to some specific purpose. Thematically, that isn't a bad idea for a story, but unfortunately the narrative veers off into many meandering scenes that come off more like an abbreviated montage of Stone's life, or just a pedestrian travelogue of his European trip. All that simply could have been more interesting, but just came off as derivative, or at worst boring.
You would think the great Clint Eastwood could have given us something a bit more interesting than what we actually got from "The 15:17 To Paris," but instead we got uninspired dialogue and plot points, plus a few scenes with eyebrow raising camera shots of women's butts (how old is Clint Eastwood again?). Just stick to reading about the real life story than watching this, as it's probably more engaging in a written format.
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