This real-life thriller charts the story of the terrorist attack on an Amsterdam to Paris train in August 2015, which was foiled by three courageous Americans (Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos), who play themselves in the film.
The latest film from Clint Eastwood continues his focus on true American stories, which brought him success in 2014 with American Sniper and in 2016 with Sully. Unfortunately, this is not replicated with The 15:17 to Paris, which is comfortably the worst film of the veteran director’s career.
Eastwood’s decision to cast the three real-life heroes as themselves does not pay off. While they are hindered by a sub-soap opera screenplay, loaded with awkward dialogue, none of the three possess any acting ability or screen presence. Even Judy Greer and Tony Hale, two of the film’s established actors, struggle through the dire writing as the former delivers the film’s appalling humdinger of ‘My God is bigger than your statistics!’
Most crucially, the film is insufferably dull. Its purposeless middle section, which follows the three men on their European interrail, consumes a large amount of the running time, offers nothing to the story and feels like flicking through an endless album of holiday photos. Scenes of the men drinking beer, sightseeing and awkwardly chatting to women appear to be in constant rotation as the film trundles to its destination. When they eventually arrive, the events on the titular train journey are shot and edited with as much panache as a Crimewatch reconstruction and do not justify the tedium of the preceding seventy minutes.
Uneventful and utterly bizarre, The 15:17 to Paris is a career low for Clint Eastwood as a director. Its dud-ridden script and truly amateur acting mean that the film fails to honour the three men’s incredible courage in an appropriate or gripping manner. This is a subject that would be better suited to a documentary.