The 15:17 to Paris
Chance transforms three young men into heroes.
Clint Eastwood’s latest study of American heroism may be “the weirdest film of the year,” said Anthony Lane in NewYorker.com. The story of how three longtime friends thwarted an 2015 terrorist attack on a train traveling from Amsterdam, The 15:17 to Paris casts the real-life heroes as themselves but “suffers from an excess of dramatic wadding” and a wild disconnect between its blunt patriotic message and experimental method. “If the outlaw Josey Wales had put on white makeup and retrained as a mime artist, I couldn’t have been more surprised.” For a long stretch, the vacationing pals are shown wandering among European capitals and improvising dialogue, and that section of the film is “so bizarrely affectless it verges on avant-garde,” said Sam Adams in Slate.com. Eastwood wishes to highlight the attack’s suddenness, “but that means the movie’s raison d’être is over in a matter of minutes,” and the hour preceding it generates zero suspense. What’s admirable about the movie, though, is its artlessness, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. As the camera watches the friends move by chance toward a decisive moment, it isn’t probing deep questions about fate. “It’s concerned with locating the precise boundary between the banal and the extraordinary.” ■