Clint Eastwood has the uncanny ability to make his audience feel that they are part of the story. In his latest film, “15:17 to Paris,” that feeling is present throughout the entire 94 minutes, as it creates a unique connection between the audience and the events unfolding on the screen.
The film tells the story of three friends — Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone — as they grow up together and into adulthood. While the three take different paths in life, they decide to take a trip across the pond to experience what Europe has to offer. As they take a train from Amsterdam to Paris, a terrorist begins shooting. The three make the quick decision to protect the lives of the fellow passengers on the train.
A lot of films about historical events simply focus on the event itself and don’t provide a whole lot of detail about the people involved in the act. In most cases that format seems to work really well. However, there are times I feel I’m missing out on something by not getting a better understanding of what drives a person to do this heroic act.
That was not the case in this film.
Adding backstory and depth to these individuals’ works really well. You get a sense of who they are, what motivates them, and where they are going in life. This perspective rounds out the story and provides a complete picture.
The unique aspect of this film is that the actual people who stopped the terrorist back in 2015 play the three leading roles.
Actors could have given a heartfelt performance, but I think it would have lacked something. Having the people that shaped history adds another level of depth. It also shows that these guys were not supermen but regular fellas who had the courage to do what was right at that moment.
This movie — like a lot of other Eastwood’s films — builds up the audience with anticipation to a pivotal moment where a choice has to be made. It does not disappoint.
If you're looking for something worth your time this weekend, “15:17 to Paris” is a film that fits the bill and then some.
I give “15:17 to Paris” four mustaches out of five.
It is rated PG-13 on appeal for bloody images, violence, some suggestive material, drug references, and language.