Plot: A trio of friends are on a European excursion, likely the last time for a while the three will be together, as active military duty will take two of them out of the country soon. So this is to be one last bro-down before deployment, which means the friends want to see the sights, take in all the local culture, and make some unforgettable memories in the process. After some debate over going to Paris, the friends board a train to France and soon, they would find themselves in the middle of a terrorist attack that would change their lives forever. But the story of these three friends begins long before that fateful train ride, when all three were troubled kids and would later struggle to find their places in the world.
Entertainment Value: The decision to cast some of the real people involved in a real life terrorist attack seemed to dominate discussions about The 15:17 to Paris, as well as some issues with how accurately the situation was shown. Based on what I’ve read, some dramatic license was taken, but that is to be expected when real life inspires cinema and in the end, I didn’t think the movie was bad. I do think it is rather slow and the frequent flashbacks are kind of tedious at a certain point, but The 15:17 to Paris isn’t dull per se, just not a kinetic, brisk experience. The movie leans on old school values and religion, so it is aimed at a specific audience and most fans of Clint Eastwood’s similar output should fall into that demographic. The leads are shaky at times and you can tell Anthony Sadler was beyond nervous, but the awkwardness and raw performances are fine, with Spencer Stone offering the most interesting turn. The known talent is mostly comedic actors in dramatic roles, such as Thomas Lennon, Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, Tony Hale, and even Jaleel White. Eastwood makes some interesting decisions here and while the movie is no classic, it is more than watchable and likely of most interest to fans of his other work in this period, like Sully and American Sniper.
No nakedness. The friends do a lot of partying and hook up with the locals, but no sexual content in this one. The violence is contained to the finale, as part of the terrorist attack and while not overly graphic, it does involve some bloodshed. A gunshot wound yields a steady flow of crimson, while some blade slashes offer the most splashy blood, the rest is aftermath bloodshed or happens off screen. The scene is frantic and feels raw, which I appreciated. A simpler, more common approach would have been to stylize the scene, but I was glad to see it presented with some panic involved. As to how accurate it is, it seems as if some elements were downplayed and others played up, but this is almost always the case when Hollywood tells a real life narrative. The dialogue is fine, with some moral lessons and bro talk, while Sadler’s shaky voice and stilted performance add some unintentional humor at times. This is true of all three leads in some cases, as they’re just kind of awkward and raw in their performances, but I found it to be an interesting, very different kind of energy, so for better or worse, it was a change of pace from the usual turns. No real craziness here, as the movie keeps a mostly serious tone and aside from some minor unintended humor from the leads, never veers into wackiness.
Overall Insanity: 0/10