Film: The 15:17 to Paris
Cast: Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, Thomas Lennon, Ray Corasani
Director: Clint Eastwood
Rating: * * * *
It is a given that Clint Eastwood loves heroes and heroism. Who wouldn’t except for the withered soul? His new film, The 15:17 to Paris is written for the screen by Dorothy Blyskal from the book, The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes by Jeffrey E. Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos.
Authors Stone, Sadler and Skarlatos and some of the participants in the tense drama that played out on the train, act themselves and it is through these people that Eastwood emphasises themes of friendship, courage, bravery and self-sacrifice as they take on the ISIS terrorist Ayoub El-Khazzani (Ray Corasani) who wants to slaughter the maximum number of the 500 passengers on the train bound for Paris. He is working alone but we know how solo operators can wreak havoc. Only think of the truck mowing down pedestrians in Nice, France, or numerous knife attacks in Germany.
Eastwood dwells at length on the backstories of the heroic threesome, from their ordinary but difficult childhoods, through school and work, and to their vacation in Europe. Two of the three friends had served in the U.S. armed forces, and the audience sees “tours” of duty. Eastwood ignores the theocratic underpinning of the jihadi. Four people were injured on the 15:17 to Paris. Nobody died.