THE 15:19 TO PARIS [2018]


After American Sniper– a true story about a man who is known primarily for the high amount of people he killed on the battleground- one could be forgiven for thinking that Clint Eastwood had gotten his jingoistic kink out of his system. This proves to be far from the case. After 2016’s extremely solid Sully, it seems that he has lost all ability to make a remotely entertaining, cohesive and interesting film.

The 15:17 to Paris begins by introducing us to three U.S. men (Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone playing themselves), whose descriptions could honestly be applied to any person on a certain day. They are, as the narration ensures to reinforce, “the best of friends”.

Jumping back a decade, the film chronicles how the three met in school, their time at college, and other filler that could easily have viewers wondering if they had walked into the wrong theatre. These exhaustive and pointless efforts to try and humanize the characters all fail miserably. The net result is faint, blurred caricatures of young males that we don’t care about. Two of them, eventually, end up in the military.

After this near-pointless introduction, one that easily takes up over half the film, if not three quarters, the two soldiers and their other friend, roped into a trip to Europe, finally decide to board the ill-fated train to Paris. Don’t fear though, there are more baffling, irrelevant scenes beforehand focusing on the trio’s arrival in Europe, so you’ll have time for a toilet break.

As for the scenes on the train, in which the harrowing real-life event is reenacted, to call the execution underwhelming would be far, far too kind. Not only are some scenes extremely hard to believe, and haphazardly shot, the time spent on-board the train is a maximum of fifteen minutes.

Keep in mind that the film’s title, inspiration and marketing, are all based on a this train ride!

As if the poorly executed coming-of-age story was not bad enough, there is also the predictable ‘theme’ of the U.S. can conquer all problems looming overhead. To be fair, there aren’t any non-U.S. people being demonized. However, apart from some lip service that is easily missed, the incredibly short time spent on the train is spent focused on the three Americans.

The biggest problem with this approach is that it takes at least half of the passengers, who also helped to halt the situation, out of the equation. Yes, two of the Americans were trained by the military and, perhaps, deserve more screen time. But, according to reports of the averted disaster, the first three to react and help with the threat were two Frenchmen and one British citizen, followed by the three we actually see do all the heavy lifting on-screen.

This latter point ultimately speaks to the atrocious execution of this film. Hang up the gloves Clint. For both our sanity.

A first: Not worthy of a single beer

14 Comments on “THE 15:19 TO PARIS [2018]

  1. Damn!

    I had considered giving this one a go, but f that noise after reading this. I’m not sure when Eastwood became so ‘America, F–k Yeah!!’, but apparently there is no going back.

    At least Sully was good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, we have Sully. That was good. This though was just terrible, I honestly thought I was in the wrong theatre for a second. I was sitting there thinking GET ON THE GODDAMN TRAIN ALREADY!! It takes soooo long, and therre is no payoff, just more OO RA! scenes. Honestly one of the worst films I have ever seen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Woah! Okay you said Sully was good and that was his last film. Honestly you don’t want Clint to retire at 87 that’s just lazy! Give the man the benefit of the doubt eh?! 🙂 Look I enjoyed your review Jordan, I might be kinder to the film when I see it but I did suspect as in Sully that there would be a lot of scenes that had nothing to do with the train because that was over relatively quickly. Its interesting because in the old days a film like this would have been about a countdown to this moment with a lot about the killer preparing. Think Day of the Jackal. That’s a good movie, I guess this one was not for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Day of the Jackal is amazing. Now THAT is a build up!

      Sully was good mainly cos of Hanks. Here there is no one to carry it, in fact they used the actual guys from the train to do the movie. Sounds good in theory, but when three quarters of the film is literally these three doing nothing of interest, it isn’t a build up at all. They are best friends. That’s all we learn in an hour plus. I really did think I had gone into the wrong theatre at one point.

      Clint could have gone into the attacker’s motives or preparations, he could have taken some creative license to show how this man came to the decision to shoot up a train.

      But no, its just three non-actors doing pointless shit for most of the time. And of course they are the heroes of the movie, not the other passengers who helped subdue the man. I only saw one of them and it was very quick.

      Perhaps I was too harsh on him retiring, but this is his worst film that I have seen of his. By a long shot. At least American Sniper was somewhat entertaining despite the OOO RA! nature of it

      appreciate the comment mate

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries Jordan, ooo ra I don’t mind when its done well but Eastwood is not known for his subtlety. I can see how you focus on the three friends for the human element but yes I think we would’ve made it more an ensemble and build up from both sides. That might have been the way to go. I’ll see for myself I guess soon enough. I do think Eastwood deserves credit for a lot in Sully, not just Hanks. I was moved by the action sequences and how they were crafted. Coming a month after Suicide Squad which bored me with so much money having been spent and coming from Ayer who did such great work with End of Watch I was super appreciative of how Eastwood staged his action.

        Liked by 1 person

    • You indeed made the right choice. These jingoistic AMERICAN IS NO1 WOO films need to stop. I dunno what US folk think of them but living outside the US it just comes across so bad. This one isn’t as bad as some, its just a really, really, really bad film.


  3. Pingback: THE MULE [2018] | the epileptic moondancer

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