There’s something especially heartbreaking about a filmmaker’s failure when dealing with a story of real-life heroism.
To fumble with a fictional script is an afront to the writer and audience, but to create a plodding, boring mess of an event that inspired the world is especially distasteful.
Here, bravura director and film icon Clint Eastwood takes the bravery of three men who stop a terrorist attack aboard a train, and somehow makes it neither patriotic or memorable.
15:17 to Paris is not only a bad film, but it squanders the endless potential Eastwood had to work with. That, right there, is a cinematic sin.
His first mistake here is employing the three men who saved the train as actors playing themselves.
They not only fumble and create awkward, stilted dialogue here, but it seems as if they even realize while on screen that they would have been better served with performers who had true acting training.
Their lack of professional depth, passion for the craft and confidence in front of the camera shows.
Then there are the flashbacks between the childhood, youth, and adult lives of all three. There is so much extraneous information, so many flawed scenes and such little substance.
As a member of the viewing public, I sat through 80 agonizing minutes before I even got to really see the event the film is based on.
Spending more time on their heroics and the time afterwards rather than delving into every little bit of their psyches would have helped tremendously.
But as it stands, Eastwood has taken this wonderful source material and made the worst film of the year.