By Marc Woodfork
Coming to Blu Ray in May and hopefully it gets a more favorable response than its theatrical release is ’15:17 to Paris’, which tells the true story of the thwarted terrorist attack onboard a train en route from Amsterdam to Paris in the summer of 2015. What’s unique about this story and why it works on some levels, is that the passengers that fought off the armed terrorists were lifelong friends that happened to be on vacation together in Europe.
At face value, a film about a thwarted terrorist attack should instantly be exciting. But unfortunately, the drama created in the film doesn’t quite live up to the intensity you would expect. The action sequence on board the train is truly great. Shot documantary style, very in your face and up close. That doesn’t disappoint. The disappointment lies within the overall story.
Too much of the film is spent on showing us how these group of friends grew up and their lives before the train incident. While that makes a good documentary, it doesn’t play well in dramatic form. Not for this film at least.
Many audience members felt the decision to cast the actual ‘heroes’ to play themselves was a horrible idea, and that ultimately made the film bad. I, on the other hand, didn’t feel they did that bad. They played themselves. Not difficult to do. For me, the script lacked quality and proper pacing and arc. Couple that with non-actors and this is what you get. However your thoughts on casting, the real-life experience is remarkable, what these guys did on that train is nothing short of heroic. Maybe a film wasn’t the best way to honor them.