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In the early evening of August 21, 2015, the world watched in stunned silence as the media reported a thwarted terrorist attack on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris--an attempt prevented by three courageous young Americans traveling through Europe. The film follows the course of the friends' lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack. Throughout the harrowing ordeal, their friendship never wavers, making it their greatest weapon and allowing them to save the lives of the more than 500 passengers on board.
This is the 36th feature film to be directed by Clint Eastwood. See more »
A flashback is set in 2005, but a poster for "Letters from Iwo Jima" is seen. The movie came out in December 2006. Materials for the film came out late in 2006, so in reality no items from the film would be available in 2005. See more »
After American Sniper- a true story about a man who is known only for the amount of people he killed on the battleground- one could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Eastwood had gotten his jingoistic kink out of his system. This proves to be far from the case, and it would also seem that in a short amount of time he has lost all ability to make a remotely entertaining, cohesive, even interesting film after 2016's extremely solid Sully.
We begin by meeting three US friends, narration telling us that they are the best of friends, before a quick description of each, which could honestly describe almost any person on a certain day.
Oddly, there is a jump at least a decade back, where the three met in school, where they go to college, among other filler that could easily have the viewer wondering if they had walked into the wrong theatre. These exhaustive and pointless efforts to try and humanise the characters all fail miserably; the net result: faint, blurred caricatures of young males that we don't care about. Two of them, eventually, end up in the military.
After this near-pointless introduction, one that easily takes up over half the film, if not three quarters, the two soldiers and their other friend, roped into a trip to Europe, finally decide to board the ill-fated train to Paris. Don't fear though, there are more baffling, irrelevant scenes beforehand when the trio first arrive in Europe, so you'll have time for a toilet break.
As for the scenes on the train, a description of underwhelming is being far, far too kind. Not only are some scenes extremely hard to believe and the little amount of action haphazardly shot and hard to follow, the time spent on-board the train is a maximum of fifteen minutes.
The train that is the title of the film.
Subsequently, the overall result plays out like a poorly executed coming-of-age story with some tacky action scenes stapled roughly onto the end, sharp edges and all.
As if none of this were bad enough, we have the predictable The US can conquer all 'theme' looming overhead. To be fair, there aren't any non-US people being demonised. But apart from some lip service that is easily missed, the incredibly short time spent on the train is spent focused on the three Americans.
The biggest problem with the latter is that these scenes take at least half of the passengers who helped halt the situation out of the equation. Yes, two of the Americans were trained by the military and, perhaps, deserve more screen-time. But, according to reports of the averted disaster, the first three to react and help with the the threat were two Frenchmen and one British citizen, followed by the three we actually see do all the heavy lifting on-screen.
I think this says more than you need to know about this atrocity of a film.
Hang up the gloves Clint. For both our sanity. This has no redeeming qualities at all.
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