True heroes honored, depicted in ‘The 15:17 to Paris’

Nothing is more inspirational than seeing people overcome a moment of terror, especially when that moment is portrayed by the people who lived it.

“The 15:17 to Paris” is a movie about a terrorist attack that took place on a Thalys train to Paris in 2015. It focuses on the three men who subdued the gunman and their backstories leading up to the event.

The interesting thing about this film is that the three men, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos, are all played by themselves. No other biopic has casted actors to this extent before.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, this movie does a lot of things differently than most films, which is why it stands out when attempting different scenes.

“The 15:17 to Paris” follows the three men along their journey through childhood to the day of the train attack. It was interesting seeing how these young men grew up as friends and later worked to prevent a tragedy.

However, it is this format that causes the most problems during the movie, as there are a lot of issues with focus and pacing.

After the childhood segment of the plot, the film begins to focus primarily on Stone and his endeavors to be in the military. Sadler and Skarlatos have little or no screen time or character development.

The_15.17_to_ParisI would have liked to have seen more of Sadler and Skarlatos, and how their aspirations led them to become so brave and determined.

Despite the focus on Stone and his time in the military, the movie later brings together the three characters and follows their travels across Europe days before the attack. This is where the problems with pacing start to occur.

When the characters start backpacking around Europe, the pacing slows down, and the film becomes monotonous until the climactic terrorist scene.

At this point in the plot, nothing happens, and the character interactions are more bland and forced. Following the characters is a struggle, as the audience must sit through them just sightseeing in different countries.

It was not until the climax of the train scene that the tension rises, and the characters display their true selves.

This was my favorite part of the movie. The train scene was thrilling compared to the boring Europe scenes, and there was more shown than what was presented in the trailers. It was scenes such as this that I enjoyed due to the quality character interactions.

Throughout the rest of the movie, the dialogue between the characters is not delivered naturally. Even though this is the first time that these three men have acted, I still wanted to see more from their personalities.

Their brotherly interactions are natural and fun while their scenes with other characters, such as Skarlatos’ mother (Jenna Fischer) and Stone’s mother (Judy Greer), are lackluster. The main characters, especially Sadler and Skarlatos, should have been more developed.

“The 15:17 to Paris” is a unique biopic, as it allows the real people to tell their stories. Despite the run time being an hour and a half, parts of the movie could have been cut to prevent some of the unnecessary Europe scenes.

The movie has many flaws and lacks certain elements. But it is still an inspiring movie that has some deep and engaging moments.

I give “The 15:17 to Paris” a 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Adán Rubio

Staff writer for the Plainsman Press.

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