The 15:17 to Paris
The 15:17 to Paris: Clint Eastwood’s movie suffers from the curse of weak screenplay and slow narrative
Movie Review by Anirudh Madhav (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Adapted from the autobiography of Jeffrey E. Stern, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone; The 15:17 to Paris, fails on all three core aspects of a movie – screenplay, acting and storyline.
Director Clint Eastwood’s documentary style narrative is a bold experiment especially since he casts the original trio involved in the incident. The terrorist attack carried out by Ayoub (Ray Corasini) in the train has a real feel to it but the whole sequence is shortened to a mere 15 minutes in the movie. Being the focal point of the film, it hardly gets its due screen time.
The story begins with the teenage phase of the trio, portrayed by Bryce Gheisar (Skarlatos), Paul-Mikel Williams (Sadler) and William Jennings (Spencer Stone). There is no specific plotline that the film follows from this point. These three teenagers are troublemakers, meet during detention and a vacation to Europe leads them to the train attack.
Apart from a sloppy screenplay, the film has certain dialogues that are Christian cliches, some even implying the train incident is the greatest purpose in the trio’s life.
The performance of the lead actors is a major disappointment. While the director has tried to lend authenticity to a movie by casting the guys who lived the story, the effort goes to complete waste as it fails to have the desired impact.
The sequences where they tour Europe are long, boring and serve no purpose. Incidentally, a training montage featuring Spencer Stone with the soundtrack of Believer in the background, which adds some spunk to the narrative is ruthlessly cut short. The entire film seems to lack vigour and pace that is essential for a film like this to sustain interest.
Dorothy Blyskal’s screenplay could surely do with more interesting sequences, a thrilling parallel narrative and better dialogues. The constant references to God’s miracles and the idea of ‘greater purpose in life’ starts to get tedious and repetitive.
The well-executed train sequence stands out as the only memorable part of the movie, retaining the tense feeling of a terrorist attack.
Clearly, Director Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris is a movie that is best left to the books.