Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
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The 15:17 To Paris
Let me start off this review by saying that I’m an ENORMOUS fan of Clint Eastwood and his body of work. He is one of those actors who has become a legend in front of the camera, as well as behind, and is one of 5 actors that I collect ANY of his films that he stars in. Even if I don’t end up lowing the movie. I have books, paper clippings, and a long list of memories that span back all the way to 1993 when I was first introduced to his thanks to my Rancher grandfather. I’ve not been a wild fan of EVERY single one of his directing jobs, but the man has a knack for creating highly enjoyable films that really deserve looking at. Especially considering that I tend to swing a bit right of center politically, and so does many of Eastwood’s works. I had also learned of the events of the story back in 2016 and was fascinated by the real life story told in their autobiography of the same title. So needless to say I was more than a bit intrigued to see the real life story of the three men who stopped a terrorist attack on their way to France.
Sadly this is a missed opportunity for Eastwood. I have always LIKED his films up until this point, but I had a hard time enjoying 2/3rds of the film here. Eastwood tried, really he did, as there are multiple interviews that showed the man really struggling over who to cast, how to portray the three men’s religious faith, and how to make this honoring of them without being trite. He even went so far as to (controversially) cast the ACTUAL three men who underwent the real life story to play themselves in the movie! I was a bit worried that this would end up harming the film due to non actors in the lead role, but this was actually a boon to the movie. Watching Alek, Anthony and Spencer interact, you get a real sense of authenticity and camaraderie among the men. Spencer and Alek especially give off this vibe of being ACTUAL military (I come from a military family and it’s blatantly obvious to someone who’s been around real serviceman that someone has either served, or they haven’t), and they do so well as to almost forget they aren’t professional actors. The problem isn’t even Eastwood’s direction. The main problem comes from a hackneyed script from writer Dorothy Blyskal, who creates a framework so disjointed and filled with atrocious dialog that no amount of good acting can make up for that fumble.
I’m not sure why Eastwood didn’t see what was going on and force them to go back to the drawing board in terms of the script, but he plowed ahead anyways and this is what came out. I won’t say that the movie is awful, as Eastwood really can’t make a truly AWFUL film, but I had a hard time enjoying this movie for a majority of the run time. The last act where we see the boys actually take on the terrorist is FANTASTIC, but almost too little too late.
It’s pretty obvious that the movie makes for a great short film, but a really weak feature film. Even at 94 minutes from start to finish, The 15:17 To Paris is bloated by about 45 minutes, and just drags on as we’re sold a bill of goods that is completely different than what the trailer portrayed the movie as. Again, don’t get me wrong, this would have made a semi decent drama, but the writing is so painful that the first 60 minutes of the film is just excruciating to watch. Even the veteran actors like Judy Greer and Jenna Fischer just bite their lip and slog through it with this pained expression on their face. I was having a difficult time choking it down until the final act, which pulls the film up quite a bit and actually almost made me forget all of the boring exposition that was crammed into the bloated first two acts.
Rated PG-13 on appeal for bloody images, violence, some suggestive material, drug references and language
• Portrait of Courage – Join Oscar winner Eastwood and his creative team as they reveal the aspects of the story that moved them and why they took the bold step of casting the three Americans to play themselves in the film.
The 15:17 To Paris is a swing and a miss from famed director Clint Eastwood, and I have to say, this truly pains me to say that. I REALLY wanted to see a good adaptation of the real life events, and while we DO get it (a rather spot on and accurate take really), it’s only the final 20 minutes of the film. Which is a little bit too little too late for my tastes. The acting by the three men is above and beyond what I expected for simple non actors, and the final act REALLY is good, but I would say that the film is best fast forwarded to the final 25 minutes or so and just skip the first 2 acts. Warner Brothers has given us excellent video and solid audio, but a fairly limited array of extras and a movie that’s really not that hot. While I won’t say that you should skip the movie (the final act is great), I would have to say that this is more rental material than anything.
Starring: Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Dorothy Blyskal (Screenplay), Anthony Sadler (Book)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English DVS DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 94 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: Own The 15:17 To Paris on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on May 22, or Own It Now on Digital!