Michael Scott

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The 15:17 To Paris


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Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :1.5stars:
Final Score: :3stars:



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Movie

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.
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The story itself is based off of about 10 minutes of real action (as most real life fights actually are), so the plot of the movie is wildly padded out tot the extreme. The basics of the story revolve around Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Salder, and Spencer Stone, three lifelong friends who are on a backpacking trip in Europe. On their way to France (the last leg of their journey), their train is hijacked by a radicalized Muslim terrorist named Ayoub El Khazzani wielding a compact AK. Rushing into action, Spencer tackles the man with the help of Alek and Spencer incapacitate the man before he can fire a single shot (one of those “one in a million” times where the first round in the chamber was a dud). HOWEVER, in movie land, this is taken up in the final 20 minutes of the film (as well as a few spliced fast forwards throughout the movie, giving us just seconds of what happened before it actually happens), while the first hour and 10 minutes is bloated backstory going all the way back to the children’s middle school years, their desire to join the military, and them putzing around Europe drinking beer and checking out cute girls.

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.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 on appeal for bloody images, violence, some suggestive material, drug references and language




Video: :4.5stars:
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Shot using Arri Alexa cameras by Clint Eastwood’s favorite cinematographer Tom Stern (who has been Eastwood’s choice for the last 17 years), and finished on 2K for the master, The 15:17 To Paris looks amazing on Blu-ray. The film is given a very natural and neutral looking color grading (besides the opening shots of the boy’s childhoods, which is given a more maroon and orange look) with brightly saturated colors and really sharp looking details. Everything is perfectly in focus, and Stern’s expert use of quick shots combined with straight forward angles gives the movie a very stoic and serious feel. Black levels are very highly regarded, with only a slight bit of crush to mar the image. There’s some soft shots in the backgrounds, but close ups are incredibly revealing, but I was just a bit surprised to see that Warner had given the film a rather “middle of the road” bitrate (low 20s) and that the film took up only 23 gigs of the 50 gig disc! I’m not sure how much more could be gained by increasing the bitrate and adding more size to the encode, but I really would have liked to see them try that.




Audio: :4stars:
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Warner has given us a full on Dolby Atmos track for
The 15:17 To Paris, and I find it to be a bit of an overkill for the film’s modest sound mixing. The movie really only has one action scene, and one gunshot in the entire film, with the rest of the time being a fairly laid back drama that rests heavily in the front of the room. The last 20 minutes is full of excitement with yelling, screaming, rushing of the train across the tracks, but nothing that really pushes the object oriented mix to its fullest. Besides that short action sequences, this is a rather laid back mix that pushes dialog as the main affair, with some mild surround usage thrown in. The modest sound design is still quite effective though, with great vocals and an even balance across the sound stage that does the best it can despite the fact that this isn’t a rip roaring sort of mix. (by the way, Warner once again has a redundant 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix on the disc as well, and the disc defaults to that track, so you'll have to manually change it if you want the Atmos mix).





Extras: :1.5stars:
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Making Every Second Count – Join Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler – the three Americans who stopped the attack – as they take us moment-by-moment through the real-life drama, just as they lived it. (Blu-ray exclusive)
• 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.







Final Score: :3stars:


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.


Technical Specifications:

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
Rated: PG-13
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!






Recommendation: Rental

 

Asere

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Thanks for the review. I will wait for it to be available on Amazon or Netflix.
 

Todd Anderson

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tripplej

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Thanks for the review. May check it out.. :)
 
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