Reviews

An incredible true story portrayed by the actual heroes who lived it

An incredible true story portrayed by the actual heroes who lived it

In the face of fear ordinary people can do the extraordinary.

DVD: The 15:17 to Paris

Runtime: 90 minutes

Age restriction: 16DLV

Special Features: The 15:17 to Paris: Portrait of Courage – Join Clint Eastwood and his creative team as they reveal the aspects of the story that moved them and why they took the bold step of casting the three Americans as themselves in the film.

Reviewed by: Gareth Drawbridge

Review made possible by: Empire Entertainment

“They’re everyday people doing extraordinary things. Anyone can be a hero. You don’t need to have a cape to be a hero,” said Kristina Rivera, one of the producers of the biographical drama The 15:17 to Paris.

Directed by the legendary Clint Eastwood, the film tells the true story of three friends, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos, who stopped the 2015 Thalys train attack.

On August 2015, the trio departed from the Amsterdam Centraal station on the 15:17 to Paris. While en route, a gunman emerged from the bathroom and, after a brief altercation with two passengers, Damien A and Mark Moogalian, which resulted in Moogalian being shot, the assailant made his way into the passenger car.

Armed and dangerous, the gunman was about to open fire when his rifle jammed.

It was at this moment that Stone, Sadler and Skarlatos, sprang into action and tackled the shooter, who retaliated by pulling out a box cutter. Despite being severely cut on the hand, neck and head, Stone managed to get the attacker in a chokehold while Skarlatos used the rifle to knock the man out. With the help of some of the other passengers the friends used a shirt to tie up the gunman.

In the aftermath of the thwarted attack, the three friends were recognised as heroes of the French Republic and it wasn’t long before Hollywood came calling.

Based on the book, The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes, by Jeffrey E Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos, the film focuses on the lives of the three friends and the events leading up to that fateful day when they boarded the train.

Eastwood certainly has a natural talent for bringing true-life stories to the screen and The 15:17 to Paris is another tour de force. He has not sensationalised the story and has added to the realism by shooting on location and casting the three friends as themselves – a bold move which definitely paid off.

Despite the heroic deeds of Stone, Sadler and Skarlatos, there is also a chilling angle to the film when one thinks about the recent terror attacks and high school shootings, and it leaves viewers wondering how tragic the train ride could have been had the gunman’s rifle not jammed when it did.

For fans of biographical films, true-life dramas do not get any more realistic than this.

The 15:17 to Paris is now available on DVD.

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