The 15:17 to Paris: The Review

There are documentaries, there are docu-dramas and then there’s The 15:17 to Paris.Clint Eastwood has based his latest on the foiled terrorist attack on board a Paris bound train back in 2015.The epitome of American heroism that Eastwood has been in the prime of his career and still is, his compulsion to search for and make movies about the real life American heroes is understandable  and he succeeded in that in American Sniper and Scully  but the way he has gone about it here leaves me a deer caught in headlights as a viewer.You could call it an expirement, but Ram Gopal Varma has been expirementing too, for over a decade, allow me to remind you.

The movie is essentially a re-enactment of the whole incident and the three Americans who saved the day and averted tragedy play themselves.There is no plot here.There’s no drama.There’s no real purpose either you start thinking midway but then, I am not an American.Eastwood takes the longest time to introduce the main protagonists, featuring incidents right from their childhoods to the events leading up to the backpacking trip across Europe.Nothing really happens here.It’s just about as mundane as the days in the lives of any of us in fact, if that’s any consoloation.It also serves as a travelogue of sorts for people intending to take a trip across Europe.Amsterdam is not a place to be missed, Eastwoos asserts.The intention of the film is not to explore the horrific reality that terrorism is and Eastwood shields the viewer from being emotionally affected by the incident to an extent that even the BGM has little impact on you in the closing moments.You’re comfortably numb, if i may.

The message that Eastwood has tried to deliver here is that every individual has an obligation to respond, in a situation of crisis.In that sense the two passengers who took on the armed gunman initially, one of them getting shot in the process, are no lesser heroes but that tale is not being told here.Eastwood is so done with drama here that he actually uses original footage of Hollande’s speech felicitiating the three Amercians towards the end.The tragedy of my viewing experience is that after sitting through the excruciatingly dull proceedings in the build up to the  final confrontation with the terrorist, my phone rang and i had to walk out of the hall and by the time i got back the action was almost over.The movie is based on a book co-authored by the three Americans and if i had the time and patience i would find it and read it, which i don’t anymore, just to check if Eastwood and his scriptwriter are to be blamed here.

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