Actual heroes re-create bravery in '15:17 to Paris'

11 February, 2018, 05:43 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone in a still from

The three men were travelling through Europe when they prevented a terrorist from killing hundreds of people.

By the time we get to the three stars as adults, with each man playing himself, the god terrible script by Dorothy Blyskal gives them lines that not even seasoned actors could pull off, all to push this story that these men, who did a heroic deed in the face of real danger, were raised to do this. A terrorist opened fire on the train, but the men took action, fighting and restraining him, while saving lives.

They became instant celebrities and were honored by both the French and US governments for their heroism. Based on a book written (along with Jeffrey E. Stern) by Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone, the film stars them, too. They are ordinary guys who act in extraordinary ways, so how come this movie is so mundane?

"Hopefully this launches movie careers for all three of us", said Sadler. You will forget to breathe during moments, and it feels true to life. It was too astronomical for it to be just chance.

The 15:17 to Paris doesn't find Eastwood in a particularly jingoistic mood - both men are shown to be relatively mediocre but doggedly determined soldiers - but it does spend an inordinate amount of time digging for thematic relevance in the characters' backstories. But the director, 87, also eventually stopped his casting process and asked the charismatic Americans to play themselves onscreen, despite their having no acting experience.

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As far as the three friends are concerned, any account of their story would be incomplete if it left out their Christian faith. We all went to our different paths in life - I was in college and these two made a decision to join the military - so I mean that's just the nature of our story.

Alek (Bryce Gheisar) and Spencer (William Jennings) meet at elementary school in 1993, where their disruptive behaviour leads a beleaguered teacher (Irene White) to conclude they are textbook cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In another scene, Skarlatos' mother (portrayed by Jenna Fischer) tells her son that, in her prayers for his well-being, she had received the assurance that he was destined for something great.

He said Clint Eastwood perfectly captures what really happened for audiences to see. The film was worth watching because of the bravery depicted by the passengers.

But Eastwood still featured multiple shots of his real heroes taking their own selfies in The 15:17 to Paris (now in theaters).

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He added he hopes the movie serves as a vehicle to "spread the word of God".

"I think that's another way God has been using us", Stone said. Eastwood frames the climax as effective action and multinational jingoism, with the three ultimately accepting the French Legion of Honor alongside a Frenchman, Mark Moogalian (also playing himself), and a Brit, Chris Norman (likewise).

A poster for Eastwood's 2006 film "Letters From Iwo Jima", displayed on the wall of young Spencer's bedroom in one scene from the film, wasn't just a clever cameo on Eastwood's part.

Despite the terrifying nature of that day, Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler say it wasn't distressing for them to relive the encounter. The reason for their inclusion is obvious, and while while some exposition and back story is need for viewer empathy for scenes that are to come, it's so mind-numbingly boring that it's easy for the mind to wander as the drama plays out before you. More regularly than not, one sustains the other, as Eastwood zooms in on his honourable men and women largely unconflicted about right and wrong, driven forth by duty, their larger guiding force.

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