Back in August, 2015 three friends (Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone) were on a train to Paris. They are childhood friends living normal lives trying to find their way. Stone and Skarlatos were already in Europe doing their military tours. Sadler was back in the States going to college and was convinced by the other two to join them in Europe for a mini-vacation.
While on the train, a terrorist (played by Ray Corasani) armed with an AK-47, multiple magazines, a pistol and a knife emerges from the bathroom shooting a passenger and about to take over the train. Stone awakes from the noise of fellow passengers running by him. Stone charges the Corasani who pulls the trigger of his AK-47. The round doesn't fire and Stone knocks him down, wrestling to gain control of Corasani while Corasani is slashing at him with the knife after having dropped his pistol. Stone's two friends, Skarlatos and Sadler, join in trying to take control of the terrorist. They succeed and then render aid to the injured passenger, basically keeping him alive until help arrives.
I rarely lay out the movie like this in review. But I'm not telling you, our Miner readers, anything you haven't already heard on the news or in these pages. It's an awesome story. Something to be proud of. Ordinary people taking action in an extraordinary time.
What's particularly different here is Director Clint Eastwood chose to have the actual three participants play themselves. It was a gamble that you should decide if it was worth it. As actors, all three struggled. It looked like they were acting. And as you know, a good actor is believable and doesn't look like they are acting. But because these three guys did what they did, I'm willing to give them a pass.
So how do you take an incident that lasted maybe fifteen minutes and make it into a movie? One way is to throw in some background. So we see how the three met, their troubles in school, their confusion and indecision about their futures. And you take that and mix in scenes from the train. I don't care for bouncing back and forth. But in this case I think it was done to keep your interest because the background was so uninteresting. It didn't grab you and make you care or draw you into the movie. Some subjects, like a teacher making a diagnosis or the repetition of a prayer, did get my blood going but was handled superficially and made you wonder why they even included it in the movie.
Go see the movie for its story, not the acting. Save the candy bars for when they are on the train but feel free to munch away at the beginning. Stay through the credits to see what happens with the main characters. It's rated PG-13 and runs 94 minutes. You decide if Eastwood's gamble was worth it. I'll give it 4 out of 5 Miners for the story and the acting attempt.