Eastwood’s biographical drama is a keeper

15:17 to Paris

The most unusual aspect of the film 15:17 To Paris is Clint Eastwood, the director’s choice to use non-actors for the three key players. This is the story about a terrorist on a train in France and the three brave men who took him down. Those three men play themselves in the movie — Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and U.S. Air Fore Airman First Class Spencer Stone. Many critics panned the film, largely for the non-actor decision. I’ll admit the film starts slowing tracing the men’s childhoods, which involves several visits to the principal’s office and their coming of age trip across many countries leading up to the Paris train trip. In hindsight I think Eastwood had the right idea adding the kids backstories and thus creating the bond that gave them the strength to take on a killer armed with over 300 rounds of ammo. As the reality of the situation sits in — a train packed with 500 passengers, the three men with no weapons and a mad man set on killing everyone — Eastwood gets his groove and pulls all viewers along to the stand-up-and-cheer climax. There’s also a neat segment where the three Americans, who stopped the attack — as they take you on the moment-by-moment drama as they lived it.

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