Three Americans who are recognized as global heroes for saving hundreds of people from a terrorist attack on a commuter train en route to Paris detailed events they said were divinely orchestrated by God to prepare them to take action that fateful day.
If there's anyone who can break down an entire crowd of movie-goers into a puddle of tears, it's Clint Eastwood.
They were hailed as heroes after the foiled attack -.
But the truth is, as was the case in "Sully", which was given a boost from a great Tom Hanks, we are biding our time until we get to the big event, which Eastwood teases with shots of the terrorist, who remains a cipher, walking through the train station with his knapsack and carry-on roller.
The self-described "ordinary guys" managed to subdue a terror suspect armed with an AK-47, a 9mm handgun and a box cutter, stopping Ayoub El-Khazzani before he could inflict mass casualties. But all three made a decision to take time off from the military and college to backpack through Europe.
The three American tourists, off-duty military servicemen Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, and their friend Anthony Sadler played themselves in the film. Another passenger, the 51-year-old French-American Mark Magoolian, then succeeded in wrestling El Khazzani's assault rifle from him, before, as shown in the movie, El Khazzani used a concealed pistol to shoot Magoolian in the back. Once in, Stone handles disappointments impassively, while the most exciting thing that happens to Skarlatos is having his rucksack stolen in tense Afghanistan. In one scene, Stone charges the gunman, who shoots at him with an empty gun, allowing Stone to use his newly developed jujitsu skills, using a hold he learned earlier in the movie.
"Spoiler alert: I definitely lived", Stone joked.
Things eventually lead to the trip to Europe - almost an hour into the film - and while it's nice to see the three traveling around the continent taking in the sights, meeting various folk that mould their experience along the way, it's hard to see what scenes of them out buying ice-creams with a stranger from their homeland, or partying away in a nightclub really add to the narrative. But by placing three untrained actors at the center of the piece (along with a handful of peripheral characters throughout the film playing themselves as well), The 15:17 to Paris has a refreshing and charming indie quality to it for much of the staggeringly short running time (just over 90 minutes).
Despite the terrifying nature of that day, Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler say it wasn't distressing for them to relive the encounter. Judy Greer and Jenna Fischer, doing all they can with barely characterized roles, portray the mothers of Stone and Skarlatos, respectively. All 23 at the time, they said they were searching for fulfillment, like many young adults. Following that incident in France, the three men have been honored internationally as heroes.
Alek Skarlatos: "I'd probably have to do 'Bridges of Madison County'".
Even the fear of public speaking has withered away, Skarlatos said, as he addressed the audience.
"Hopefully this launches movie careers for all three of us", said Sadler. Directed by actor, filmmaker and renowned heckler of empty chairs Clint Eastwood, the film is notable for starring the heroes themselves as the heroes themselves. For Stone, it has presented "a huge platform" from which "to spread the word of God".
But the trio is also hoping it opens other doors. Far too much of "15:17 to Paris" is taken up with travelogue scenes of the young men touring Venice, or Rome, or hitting the dance floor in Amsterdam.
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Holding back tears, Morbitzer described the veteran officers as "true American heroes" and "pillars in our department". No additional information about the suspect or the incident to which police responded were immediately available.
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