Take “The 15:17 to Paris”

Ethan Flaherty, Staff Writer

Ethan Flaherty

Movie Review

“The 15:17 to Paris” is a movie based on the real life events of three friends and their heroic efforts to save lives on August 21, 2015. The movie stars the actual heroes who stopped the planned terrorist attack: Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler.

        Directed by Clint Eastwood, the movies follows the lives of three friends from youth through the moment they became recognized heroes. “The 15:17 to Paris” follows the three men from troubled youth (including highlighting when the boys were expelled from elementary school), through dead-end jobs, to difficulty adjusting to life, both civilian and military.

        The story, told in flashback and “real time” events, keeps the story moving forward. The main focus of the story is Spencer Stone (actor, other work). Spencer and Alek (actor, other work), whose mothers are friends, meet Anthony in the principal’s office of their California Christian school. Eventually, the trouble the boys cause splits them up. Alek moves to Oregon to live with his father. Anthony goes to a different school. However, the boys never lose touch.

        In August, 2015, Spencer, currently in the military and stationed in Portugal, and Anthony (actor, other work) meet up in Rome to travel.  Alek, currently in the military and on leave from Afghanistan, meets up with the other two in Germany. After a wild night of partying and clubbing, the friends decide to take the 15:17 train to Paris.

        A terrorist boards the train with a knife, a handgun and an assault rifle with a backpack full of ammunition. He is stopped by the courageous actions of several passengers, mainly the three Americans. The dramatic recreation of the intense panic and subsequent subduing of the terrorist is an action highlight of the movie.

        The final scene is of the Americans (and one Briton) receiving the thanks of France’s then President Francois Hollande and the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award. Actual footage of the ceremony was both an emotional and fitting end to this story.

        “The 15:17 to Paris” was an entertaining film. It lacked much of the glitz of a typical Hollywood action movie and that was part of what made this movie work. The use of the actual men to portray their story instead of actors lent a different type of credibility to the film, too. Overall, I rate the film 7/10 stars.