I dislike Clint Eastwood’s new film, The 15:17 to Paris, much as I dislike the overwhelming majority of his latter day films. That being said, I dislike The 15:17 to Paris for reasons I didn’t anticipate. You may recall the 2015 Thalys train attack, in which a lone shooter attempted to massacre passengers on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. You may also recall that two American soldiers and their friend, plus one British man and one American born Frenchman and one French Frenchman, intervened and thwarted the attack. That incident is The 15:17 to Paris‘ focal point, with the added twist that the Americans (and the Brit and Frenchmen) all play themselves, which I’m totally into in theory.
In practice, Eastwood has no idea what in the hell he’s doing with his slate of non-professional actors, so he just chickens out and makes the whole movie into an extended morning news segment. There’s no art here, and in the absence of art there’s shocking disrespect for the story and for the people involved, which goes double being as they’re the stars of the goddamn movie. This bugged me, so I wrote for Thrillist on the subject, citing other instances of movies casting real-life people as themselves in reenactments of their ordeals, because this type of thing can be done. Just not by Eastwood.