On August 21, 2015 three young Americans were on board a train to Paris when a terrorist, armed with automatic weapons and several hundred rounds of ammunition, tried to take over the train. The three friends, two of them with military training, sprung into action and subdued the terrorist, at great personal risk, saving the lives of all the passengers on the train. The 15:17 to Paris is the true life story of that act of heroism. Not only is it the true story, the movie also features the three real life heroes who thwarted the attack. Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos all play themselves. Also a local connection in the film is Ray Corasani, who plays the terrorist. He attended The University of Texas in Arlington (UTA).
The actual story of the attack takes place in the last 30 minutes of the movie. Everything that comes before that tells the life stories of the three friends and shows what bought them to the that attack on board the train. It almost seems as if they were destined to be there at that moment in history like it was a crazy case of serendipity.
The movie begins by showing the three friends in junior high (obviously played by three younger actors) right through their young adult lives as they each struggle to find their place in the world. While the three real life characters add authenticity to the movie their acting skills are a bit amateurish along side the professional actors in the film. Director Clint Eastwood handles the three inexperienced actors amazingly well and makes a film that relies on the story of friendship and heroism to make you overlook that one blaring weakness in the film. The finished product isn't terrible or excellent. It's just somewhere in the middle.
Be sure to stay after the final credits for actual footage of the "Heroes Parade" the three young men received in their hometown of Sacramento. CA.
The movie is rated PG-13 for violence and language and has a run time of 1 hour and 34 minutes. Although inspiring the movie only rates a MEDIUM on my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale."