Clint Eastwood might be a legendary figure in Hollywood, but his name attached to a movie is by no means a guarantee of its quality. What it is a guarantee of is a worthy, Oscar-baiting movie full of earnest young men (or women in the case of 2004’s Million Dollar Baby) overcoming the odds to achieve American glory. And so it seems to go here.
Not content with basing this on the real-life story of three young men from the US who foiled a terror attack aboard a train in Europe, Eastwood has cast the actual men in the roles playing themselves in the movie version of their book about the ordeal.
It’s a rare moment of innovation for the 87-year-old Oscar winner, and it looks like a decision that pays off, adding an extra dimension to the story that a lot of people will already be familiar with. He also chose to shoot in some of the original locations, for an extra level of authenticity.
The action takes place in 2015 on a journey from Amsterdam to the French capital. The story of the three young Americans who managed to overpower an armed terrorist who was planning to carry out a mass shooting made international news at the time.
Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone play themselves, and what strikes you is how young these heroes must have been at the time, as they still look fresh-faced in the final film. This movie is a story about those three men, their heroics and the people they saved.
The would-be-terrorist seems to be dealt with dismissively, rather than building up his role in the tale. As such, it’s a typical Eastwood movie, one that follows nicely from American Sniper and Sully.
The bottom line The story of real-life American heroes.