The 15;17 To Paris is an American drama film directed and produced by seasoned Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood. It is based on true events and centers on Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos; a group of close friends turned remarkable soldiers who heroically thwarted a terrorist attack while on a train headed for Paris during their European vacation off-duty.
In as much as this film only bears good intentions and tries to bring such a fantastic real-life fete to the big screen, it disappointed in many ways; but let’s dwell on the positives first. From a directorial standpoint, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get out of a movie with Clint Eastwood pulling the strings because I have always known him as an actor, period. All the same, I think the scenes in the 1st act were shot well.
The opening sequence, as well as the scenes that follow closely, are great; they narrate the lives of the soldiers when they were still in Elementary school, the struggles they go through and you could see the comradery between the lads. I found this aspect really enticing. Additionally, the acting from William Jennings, Bryce Gheisar, and Paul-Mikel Williams as the younger versions of the soldiers was just sublime. It is without question that the movie begins on a good note, but at the same time, it fools you to believe it has a lot of depth than it actually has in terms of a lot of integral aspects and that’s where the negatives come in.
First off, the editing is abysmal. There are a substantial amount of instances where the scenes went back and forth the soldier’s younger selves and their older selves; a bearing that made zero sense and fundamentally took a huge shit on the plot of the film. With the exception of the young lads in the first act, the overall acting here is bereft of intrigue, and that blame rests solely on the shoulders of the lead actors in Alek, Anthony, and Spencer.
Eastwood’s decision to cast inexperienced actors, despite the fact that they ideally went through the same ordeal in real life was without a doubt uncalled for; he should have seriously known better given his stature. The overall dialogue seemed extremely lazy; a factor heavily contributed by my latter point. Finally, the big bane of this film’s existence was the plot; it is awful. You know, if you mistakenly ran late to see this movie and found out that you only had a third of an hour before it ended then I’d strongly advise that you sit back and relax because you just saved yourself the considerable agony. In fact, I almost slept through a better part of the 2nd act; it was unforgivably lethargic.
In summary, I would strongly recommend you the reader not to watch the inefficacy that is The 15; 17 To Paris, a better part of it is everything you would normally dread to experience when watching a movie, more so one whose potential you feel, from a critical point of view, could have been exploited more given that it is based on such a revered story.