Prestigious actor turned director Clint Eastwood brings this remarkable true story to the screen. It is the story of three friends who grew up together, were separated, and then who organised a vacation before two of them go off to war. It's there in Paris, 2015, the three found themselves rising to the occasion showing bravery and honour in thwarting an attempted terrorist attack.

Frankly, these three deserved better; what will be most prominent to any audience is the awkward acting, it's clear that these three are uncomfortable on camera. While the prospect of having the real heroes portray themselves is admirable, it's an understatement that they are not actors and it shows.

Dialogue sounds, and is, clunky and monotone with very little believability to it, so much so that you never see or buy into the three as close friends. The viewer never gets a sense of their chemistry which hinders the movie further as its clinching moments depend on the audience being clued into their chemistry so that the emotional impact is greater.


Sadly this is not the case at all, the first act of the film goes by as a dull and unbearable attempt to show these three as kids to strengthen the bond of the characters in the eyes of the audience. What goes wrong here is that it goes by without any depth into them as people and the foundations of what they will become, this likely stems from the fact the movie is starring and was brought to Eastwood by the three real people - it prevents meaningful character investigation.

However, for the most part, the three stars are passable as they are not trained in acting and much of the blame falls to Eastwood for his nonchalant directing style, which is laughably apparent during The 15:17 To Paris. Gone are any kind of tense drama, political statements or just plainly great action. Eastwood, instead, lets the film play out the events of the three on holiday; this alone is not exactly a terrible decision if more happened and if Eastwood took command of the shots more as we might have got a sequence more emotionally connecting.

Pedestrian feel

What goes wrong here is the coasting nothingness - a sequence which would have worked fine in a documentary style or landscape; in Eastwood's static, overproduced Hollywood feature it stands as a tremendously deadpan useless sequence. The editing of the film's climax into these moments furthers the utter boredom of this sequence and makes it evident that this plot has been stretched thin and has been given so little attention that it is nothing more than an amateur video gallery from their vacation.

The climax of the film shows much the same; lifeless and anticlimactic, the cinematography gives the sequence a pedestrian feel and tears away all cinematic quality. None of it screams cinema and instead cries 'straight to tv movie'.

Final say

Plain and simple, The 15:17 To Paris is a film that Eastwood gave very little care to, and was perhaps something of an experiment for him or even a cash grab on a topical story. Eastwood's nonchalant directing, meanwhile, makes for an utter tiring and deadpan picture, perhaps it is even a cry for his own retirement.