“The 15:17 to Paris” ‒ Inspiring Film, Irritating Reviews

By | February 12, 2018 | 5 Comments

The photo shows then-French President François Hollande bestowing Legion of Honor medals on Briton Christopher Norman and Americans Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone, and Alek Skarlatos, for their heroism in subduing an extremist Muslim terrorist on the 15:17 train from Amsterdam to Paris.

The terrorist armed himself with multiple firearms including an AK-47 as well as a box cutter. He boarded the train on Aug. 21, 2015, intending to kill as many passengers as possible. But he managed to shoot only one before he was rushed by the three Americans. Norman, a 62-year-old businessman, helped to subdue the terrorist.

Stone was a medic, and though seriously injured ‒ his thumb was almost severed ‒ saved the passenger’s life by inserting two fingers into his neck wound and stopping the bleeding. The passenger survived, and Stone recovered from his injuries.

Their courage was recognized by France by bestowing the Legion of Honor. Stone, an airman second class, was awarded the Airman’s Medal and ‒ significantly ‒ the Purple Heart, signifying that he had been wounded in combat. Skarlatos, a National Guard specialist, received the Soldier’s Medal. Sadler, a civilian, received the Secretary of Defense Medal of Valor.

Clint Eastwood took a risk by casting the three Americans as themselves. But they did quite well, with no wooden acting, no awareness of the camera, and no stilted dialog. Making actors look good is the mark of a good director. Making non-actors look good is the mark of an outstanding director.

One would assume that everyone would recognize these man’s heroism. One would also assume that criticism of Eastwood’s film “The 15:17 to Paris” might involve artistic differences, but still would acknowledge the courage of the four men. One would be wrong:

The 15:17 to Paris” is a fluky experiment of a true-life thriller that sounds, at least on paper, like a metabolic piece of Eastwood red meat.

The 15:17 to Paris pays clumsily well-intentioned tribute to an act of heroism, but by casting the real-life individuals involved, director Clint Eastwood fatally derails his own efforts. (One out of five stars.)
Rotten Tomatoes

Despite the noblest of intentions, the latest thriller from director Clint Eastwood is a total misfire that lacks any engaging drama.

Eastwood offers some up-skirt cinematography to accentuate the red-blooded maleness of the guys, which is one of many crude touches found in a film that’s largely xenophobic, anti-education, and horribly crafted.

The one big commercial hope for “The 15:17 to Paris” (the very title of which may prove a bit confusing for the down-home crowd) lies in capturing a portion of the huge “American Sniper” audience, as the new film has patriotic and religious angles that may hold significant appeal for viewers across Middle and Southern America.
Hollywood Reporter

The French gave the men the Legion of Honor. American leftists gave them the finger. That says it all.

First we have the inevitable “red meat,” implying that Eastwood fans are carnivores, perhaps human. But at least the annoying term “dog whistle” was omitted, which implies that conservatives are animals.

Then we have “xenophobic.” Really? Much of the film is a travelogue, with the three friends enjoying the people and places of Europe. Apparently “xenophobic” means that the film showed the terrorist as a bearded man with olive skin ‒ who said not one word, and whose motives were never described. Is it “xenophobic” even to depict a terrorist without comment? Is it “anti-education” to show kids having problems in school?

So how could the men have avoided being “xenophobic”? By allowing the terrorist to shoot more people? Would that have demonstrated “tolerance” and “inclusiveness”? Or would it have displayed cowardice and apathy? As the words are used currently, is there any difference?

Next we have the insufferable condescension of the self-anointed leftist “elite.” The “down-home crowd” just can’t grasp the meaning of the name of a train. Perhaps they never rode a train. But how about a bus? Surely the hillbillies and rednecks must have ridden a bus. But no, they are too dense to understand even that.

Finally we have the arrogant disdain for anyone who might have patriotic or religious sentiments. Surely such Neanderthals must be confined to the Midwest and the South. The elevated intelligentsia of the East and West Coasts would never be moved by such primitive emotions.

No, they are “citizens of the world,” which carries no obligation except breathing. They are atheists or at best agnostics, who “follow their own hearts” rather than such obsolete notions as the Ten Commandments, not to mention such archaic ideas as, “Nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake.” Unlike Stone, they wouldn’t offer the critically injured passenger an opportunity to pray. They are much too “progressive” for such outmoded behavior.

But the key question remains: Why did these three young men risk their lives, instantaneously deciding to take down the terrorist? Why didn’t they do as the other passengers had done ‒ hope the killer would pass them by and shoot someone else?

But there is no need to wonder why the 62-year-old Brit joined the three in subduing the terrorist. Later he explained that after seeing the three Americans spring into action, he decided that he would emulate them rather than hiding behind the seat, waiting to die.

No, you self-appointed intellectuals and self-anointed elitists. You just don’t get it. You just can’t grasp the obvious fact that there are many Americans ‒ and not only in the Midwest and South ‒ who are as intelligent as you, but unlike you, understand the importance of religion and national identity.

You can’t grasp ‒ either intellectually or emotionally ‒ the empathy and admiration that so many of us feel for these four men. How sad. It’s your loss. So go back to your leftist bubble, talking and socializing only with those who share your leftist ideology. You reinforce one another’s leftist beliefs and never hear a contrary idea.

Religion? Patriotism? Heroism? How “yesterday.” Leave those ideals to us, the deplorable bitter clingers. But if you ever are thrust into a dangerous situation like the 15:17 to Paris, who will rescue you? “Citizens of the world” who are so fragile that they require “safe spaces” to protect them from conservative ideas? Don’t bet your life on it.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.



  • Randy W says:

    You’re being unfair. The reviewer said the FILM was xenophobic not the men.

    • That’s literally true. But the film depicted what the men actually did, and it was acted by the men themselves. So it’s a distinction without a difference. If the film was xenophobic, then what the men themselves did must have been xenophobic – right?

  • Excellent article. The snobbishness of the American intelligentsia knows no bounds. So four heroes are derided and the film about them called xenophobic because the subdue an Islamic terrorist in Paris! You are correct. It is a distinction without a difference.

    The critics should have exalted those brave Americans. I also tip my hat to our British cousin. Europeans are the contemporary elois who will be devoured by the terrorist Morlocks until they wake up and save their civilization, a civilization that still has energy in America, as the event related here testifies.

    Many years ago in an interview I was asked why I a Cuban-American lived in the South (with the implication that it was supposedly the racist area of the country). I gave many reasons, including how well our family was treated when I was still a teenager in Columbia, S.C. (a city I still love), etc. Another reason I expounded on was my recollection years earlier of the “tragic case of Kitty Genovese, who was stabbed to death at age 28 in Queens, New York, in front of thirty-seven witnesses, none of whom even tried to help her.” I stated further that situations like that “don’t occur in the South. You can be sure one of us would have done something although you would not read about it in the mainstream media. Yes, we have crime in the South, but if a damsel is in distress, you can be sure that down here a southern gentleman will still come to her rescue. The South upholds the noblest traditions of these United States: honor, duty, freedom, and country.”

    I don’t know what part of the U.S. those American tourists came from, but they stood for the noblest traditions of a free people. They are American heroes and we should not leave out Clint Eastwood who also deserves an Academy Award for his artistic effort as well as patriotism!

    • The three Americans grew up in Sacramento, California. This demonstrates that though growing up in California can be a handicap, one need not become a self-absorbed leftist wiener. They met in a Christian middle school, where they had problems but stuck together. They played war games – not video but actually running around in the woods with air pistols. Two of the three were raised by single mothers, which demonstrates that though being raised by a single mother can be a handicap, one can still grow up to be an outstanding citizen, depending on the mother.

      We spend countless hours studying what causes bad behavior, with minimal success. It is past time that we study what causes good behavior. Clint Eastwood’s film is a step in the right direction. Perhaps that is another reason the Left hates it.

      The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards.
      – Sir William Francis Butler

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