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A Moment of Heroism Turned Dull

The concept of “The 15:17 to Paris” is applaudable but fails through its unimpressive lead actors and monotonous execution.

Spencer+Stone+stars+as+himself+in+%E2%80%9CThe+15%3A17+to+Paris%2C%E2%80%9D+the+true+story+of+three+Americans+who+stopped+a+terrorist+attack+on+a+train+bound+for+Paris.
Spencer Stone stars as himself in “The 15:17 to Paris,” the true story of three Americans who stopped a terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris.

Spencer Stone stars as himself in “The 15:17 to Paris,” the true story of three Americans who stopped a terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris.

TNS

TNS

Spencer Stone stars as himself in “The 15:17 to Paris,” the true story of three Americans who stopped a terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris.

Meg Travis, News Editor

The “15:17 to Paris,” directed by Clint Eastwood, is quite unimpressive in its severely wooden acting and inability to engage audiences through its disconnected storytelling and lifeless dialogue.

The film centers around the true story of the three Americans, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, who became overnight heroes after stopping a mass shooter on a high-speed railway ride from Amsterdam to Paris Aug. 21, 2015.

However, this movie goes deeper than just that immense act of bravery, digging into the boys’ intertwined childhoods and the paths that Skarlatos and Stone took into their respective military careers, which they use as accreditation in their mustered courage on the train ride.

The film continues to follow the three men from their youth to the days before the incident occurs, lending out some too-obvious hints of their ‘greater purpose’ and the direction towards their heroic actions that later fold out.

For “The 15:17 to Paris,” Eastwood made a daring directorial decision to cast the real-life Skarlatos, Stone and Sadler to play themselves in the film and function in the lead roles despite their inexperience in acting. Eastwood cited the desire for a more authentic and personal story as his motivation for such a maneuver, a decision that proved lackluster in its presentation.

Despite the fact that the three men already have that personal companionship, their interactions and dialogue prove very dry and tedious, leading to an incomplete character development and mundane flow of events. Furthermore, the detailing of their backstories is not captivating enough to carry the majority of the 96-minute film and distract from the would-be climax of the film, the railway incident.

In addition to its lack of sophistication and animated dialogue, “The 15:17 to Paris” at times gives off the feeling of functioning as one long recruitment commercial for the armed forces. The ragtag trio of boys are seen playing in the woods with fake guns from young ages and, Stone and Skarlatos specifically, attribute their major character development and personalities surrounding that to their military experience.

Although the substance of this film is a case of admirable valor and fearlessness, it fails to capture the heroism in its jumble of excessive patriotic undertones and wooden acting. Eastwood’s attempt at such a narrative ultimately fails in its purpose, succeeding mostly in turning an instance of courage into a dull and disorganized drone.

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