I’ve been off Clint Eastwood, and it didn’t exactly take a lot of sleuthing to know enough to stay away from this one regardless. But now that it’s available on Netflix Sean wondered: well, how bad could it be, really?
If you ever find yourself asking that question, give yourself a quick and stinging slap in the face. Better yet, have a trusted friend administer the dose for you if you can. How bad can it be? How bad? You don’t want to know how bad. But if you do, you glutton for punishment, a quick guide to its faults:
- Perhaps you know that this movie is based on the true events of a terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris. This is the story of the people who fought the terrorist and the 300 rounds of ammunition on him, and took him down, saving untold lives. That’s an enormously good thing that took place in a matter of seconds. Movies aren’t allowed to be mere seconds long, so Clintwood makes a series of choices to pad the piece. Things like: someone tried to medicate one of the heroes for ADD as a kid! How dare they? And one of them was denied his dream job because he lacked depth perception: scandalous!
- Overstuffing the movie with these pathetic attempts to cast its heroes in gold only serves to dilute the actual events of the movie, the very thing that almost everyone would agree were heroic acts just reading a newspaper account of them.
- Eastwood seems determined to shoe-horn religious references into the film wherever he can. Toward the end, when the heroes are tending to a gunshot victim, one True American Hero asks him if he’d like to pray and the victim shouts “No!” and his wife, clearly offended, adds “He’s not ready to go!” and their reaction to the proposed religion exactly mirrors my own internal reaction each and every time there’s an awkward attempt.
- Worst of all, and it’s bad enough to be the only point on this list, is that Eastwood casts the real-life heroes to play themselves. It’s a terrible, misguided direction. I can’t imagine what Eastwood was thinking. These men deserve credit for their bravery but no one has ever accused them of being capable actors. And since Eastwood brings in Jenna Fisher and Judy Greer in the relatively minor roles of their mothers, he’s clearly not opposed to paying professionals, professionals who only make the amateurs look worse in comparison.
Guys, straight up: it’s painful to watch. I don’t want to dump on the actual guys because honestly, it’s not their fault. No one would blame them for trying to make a few bucks on their claim to fame. This is all Eastwood. He should damn well know better. And the fact that he has continued to receive funded projects post-15:17 to Paris is all the proof that white male privilege is alive and well that we need.