Arts & Leisure

“15:17 to Paris” is mostly a slow ride

SPENCER STONE stars as himself in “15:17 to Paris.”

By Jim Tortolano

The film “15:17 to Paris” reminds me of the saying about the dog who could walk on its hind legs: “It was done about as well as it could be done.”

This Clint Eastwood movie about a 2015 terrorist incident in France foiled by three brave Americans on vacation has a great climax – the recreation of the actual event – but that’s just about all to recommend it from an entertainment standpoint.

Don’t get me wrong. Like most Americans, I thrilled to the news of a crazed, heavily-armed gunman taken down bravely by Three of Us, while the Frenchies ran like, well, Frenchmen.

The bravery and presence of mind of Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler is hugely praiseworthy and we should give them all the money paid to an NFL quarterback.

And yes, the incident was dramatic, but that’s not always drama. Before we get to the four-or-five minute Big Scene, we have to travel through about 90 minutes of generally stilted dialogue.

In order to extend the film into something you’d paid $12.50 to see, Eastwood follows the three heroes from childhood all the way to the European vacation during which they met their destinies.

They got in trouble in school. They liked toy guns. Two of them joined the military (Air Force and Oregon National Guard). They decide to tour Europe.

Now, as you probably know, these men were not portrayed by actors, but by themselves. They try to do a good job of it, but – might as well be honest – they’re not very, uh, interesting.

Maybe it’s the screenplay by Dorothy Blyskal. Do we need to know about their dozens of selfies, or their opinions about the size of Coke cans served on board trains?

OK, so maybe the real Henry V, instead of making his stirring “Crispin’s Day” speech just said, “Let’s go shoot some arrows, guys.”

That doesn’t make the accomplishment any less important, but it doesn’t make for much of a play, or a film, either.

“15:17 to Paris” is rated PG-13 for violence, gore and some suggestive images.

Leave a Reply