Director: Tony Scott
Writer: Mark Bomback
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
"With an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train barreling toward a city,
a veteran engineer and a young conductor race against
the clock to prevent a catastrophe."
When you read that synopsis, all you can think of is 'Speed' on a train but that would too easy to compare this film to. It's got much less sexual tension and a lot more bromance throughout. You probably actually also think it's going to be the worse film to come out this year, but really it's a cheesy action film that, if you don't go in with a serious head, you'll come out with a guilty conscious because it's shame ridden entertainment.
Tony Scott (Bear in mind, he also directed the brilliant True Romance) has created a film that's perfect to pass a couple of hours. The tension builds and builds with shaky camera movements blurring your vision, intense music to set the tone and saturated colours to make it seem real classy. But I don't want to give this film too much credit. It's everything you expect it to be - Dramatically stupid with cliché after cliché of one liners from manly men who work in a very dangerous field. It includes the typically setting of children in danger, an uncontrollable leader causing a fuss and the stupid idiot who lets the train run away. Everything you need to forced in your face, making it feel as if you're 12 being spoon fed the information you need to understand this very complicated tale of 'if this train doesn't stop, it will cause lots of death.'
It is a love hate story though. Although obviously a bad film, it's fun. You laugh at the typicality of what you're watching. You enjoy the predictable action. You're finding the bad comical, which I'm pretty sure isn't exactly what the film was aiming for, but because it is so dramatic and we are watching a train manned by no one, you have to take a step back, pinch yourself and think 'yeah, I'm gonna just let this film play out.'
Rosario Dawson is brilliant as the lead female in this film. She's in charge and brings the emotion needed to break away from the machoness of Pine and Washington, who also are enjoyable to watch. Pine seems a little understated compared to how easy it is to watch Denzel. He's the person every man has a crush on, and every woman wants to marry. Having him play in this half stupid, half tense thriller works perfectly for his cheeky manly style.
In terms of the cinematography, it makes a half a mile train look very exciting - Which as you can imagine must be quite a task. And to make a curve in a railway track seem like the scariest thing you'll ever experience means, even though it's over the top, the camera work obviously works wonder as you would expect from this classic film director (whether you like him or not). The way the film builds and builds with each scene as threatening as the last also keeps the pace up.
To be honest, I don't think the film should be serious... It's about a train! It's light hearted fun which creates drama when you need it, companionship and gives a general look at the worker's lives. It's apparently based on true events. When you watch the ending giving you detail of what happened to the real people, you'll be in tears. It's so cathartic, it warms your soul which then makes you want to be sick, because this film has lived up to every Hollywood convention you could possibly think of.
Good job this wasn't the train that was out of control: