On August 21, 2015, three courageous young Americans prevented what could have been a devastating terror attack aboard a Thalys train headed for Paris. The 15:17 to Paris follows these three friends throughout the course of their lives leading up to this distressful ordeal.
This film is unique in its nature as the real-life heroes are actually played by themselves. This was definitely a risky move by director and producer, Clint Eastwood, that falls flat. Although Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone are true heroes and should forever be applauded for their undeniable bravery, they should most definitely stick to their day jobs. They seem like nice, genuine men with big hearts, but unfortunately, they are not at all endearing on screen, especially in scenes where they are paired up against real actors, such as Judy Greer and Jenna Fischer.
Although I wonder if the film would have been more enjoyable if Eastwood stuck to casting trained actors as the leads, it is really Dorothy Blyskal’s screenplay to blame. Running at 94 minutes, the actual event of the terror attack is the most compelling portion of the film. The scene is classic Eastwood – it is tense, gripping and exciting and probably only fifteen minutes long. The majority of The 15:17 to Paris feels like a mixture of a cheesy Lifetime movie and someone’s study abroad Facebook album or vlog.
At the end of the day, we need to let the heroes be heroes and take note that not all heroic acts need the silver screen treatment.
Final Thoughts: Besides its focal moment, The 15:17 to Paris is a rough ride full of bad acting and even worse writing that downplays the heroism of this event.