The 15:17 to Paris Screen 12 articles

The 15:17 to Paris

2018

The 15:17 to Paris Poster
  • Sully looks as frigid and unwelcoming as a domestic flight, or as the chain hotel rooms where Tom Hanks’s Chesley Sullenberger spends much of the movie imagining his plane flying straight into midtown Manhattan. In The 15:17 to Paris, Stern’s camera captures only muddy pallor: everything is the color of late-’90s office equipment. There are crane shots and relentless Steadicam but none of it ever amounts to movement or elevation: instead, what we see is dreary, repetitive, stifling.

  • The filmmaking, as square as the characters, courts its viewers with obvious avowals of shared values. . . . Stone, Skarlatos, and Sadler's simulation of their lifelong friendship is notably unconvincing, full of camera-shy gravelly-voiced diffidence and hilariously basic half-speed evocations of everyday interactions. Even the self-aware Sadler . . . is so far from being a natural camera presence that the distance between the banality of life and the sublime of cinema seems unbridgeable.

  • Eastwood has returned with one of his weirdest, ungainliest, and most purely humbling movies. The near-nonagenarian director seems a touch out of his comfort zone at various points throughout Paris, whether in staging a propulsively crowded dance scene at an Amsterdam nightclub, or in dealing with his characters’ social-media-ese. But his intermittent deference and indecision is itself moving—a brazen concession to the three young men telling their story for the screen.

  • The action of the film depicts solely events that, for Eastwood, exemplify these traits. In the guise of its biographical arc, it’s a didactic and philosophical film, a modernist bildungsroman that traces the building of character, as if mapping the landscape of lives and times from Olympian heights. His style, never ornate, is here shockingly simple—its plainness goes beyond mere clarity to a sense of secular revelation.

  • For all its bizarrely modernist touches and the way in which it renders its heroism as a footnote to sustained mundanity, I'm ultimately undecided on how much of what this film does works. More fascinating than it is in-the-moment-engaging, 15:17's seeming banality is mysterious and more than meets the eye.

  • It has an epic fail of a screenplay which, in a curiously heavy-handed style, anchors the fateful events of the movie in a morass of talk about destiny. . . . And speaking of style, Eastwood’s—staid, classical, covertly grand—is oddly out of pace with his non-actor stars, whose performances would likely seem less untrained if Eastwood wasn’t so dependent on those psychologically rich close-ups and camera pivots he’s known for.

  • The movie has an odd intensity that springs from an aesthetic that's audacious, masterful, and shockingly inept all at once. The film's first embarrassingly reduces the book's study of class, race, masculinity, and American gun worship down to a series of sketches in which bad actors and misplaced celebrities utter amateurishly presentational dialogue.

  • I never expected to be reminded of French master Eric Rohmer while watching a film by Clint Eastwood, but The 15:17 to Paris shows that the 87-year-old director is still capable of surprises. In the middle section of Paris, three young men knock around Europe, flirt with attractive women, and muse on the nature of fate—things one would typically find Rohmer's characters doing. Moreover, Eastwood's direction of these scenes is relaxed and affectionate.

  • Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris takes a taut, engrossing, and surprising nonfiction book—the most complete and genuine account of an act of real-life heroism that enthralled the whole free world—and turns it into a flaccid, bewildering docudrama. . . . Eastwood’s aggressively incoherent movie follows the book so ineptly that it turns Stone into the central figure and treats the others as supporting characters.

  • The scene of the actual attack is close to terrific in its panicked efficiency, but the 80 or so minutes that precede it include some of the worst filmmaking of the 87-year-old actor-turned-director’s storied career—a grab bag of cranky potshots, mortifyingly bad acting (not just from the nonprofessional stars), and dorm-room musings on the meaning of life.

  • It sounded brave enough when we all first heard about it. But it’s even more remarkable as Eastwood renders it, and the men–all charmers, with none of the stagy stiffness common to nonactors–bring that moment to life so vividly that its very casualness is a jolt.

  • To call Clint Eastwood's "The 15:17 to Paris" a mixed bag would be generous. It packs all the wild action you came to see into a 20-minute stretch near the end, and elsewhere gives us something like a platonic buddy version of Richard Linklater's "Before" trilogy. This is audacious choice regardless of whether you're into it. Too bad seeing this trio re-enact their European vacation is as absorbing as watching a friend's video footage of a trip you didn't go on.

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