‘The 15:17 to Paris’ Review: Eastwood’s Ode to the Americanism that Makes Everyday Heroes, by John Nolte

Clint Eastwood has made some good movies. According to this review in Breitbart by John Nolte, The 15:17 to Paris is one of them. As an aside, he made a movie starring Angelina Jolie, The Changeling, (2008) that didn’t get a lot of attention or acclaim but was one of his best. It’s a haunting, disturbing movie, not Hollywood at all, based on a true story. Highly recommended. From Nolte at breitbart.com:

On the afternoon of August 21, 2015, on a train headed to Paris from Amsterdam, an Islamic terrorist named Ayoub El Khazzan exited a bathroom with a AKM rifle and 300 rounds of ammunition. The first person to try and stop him was Mark Moogalian, a 51-year-old American-born Frenchman, who wrestled the rifle away from El Khazzan but was shot in the back with a pistol Moogalian did not know the terrorist was carrying.

With his rifle and rounds back in his grasp, El Khazzan made his way to the passenger car. It was here that he met up with three Americans, three lifelong friends enjoying a European excursion together: 23-year-old Airman First Class Spencer Stone, 23-year-old Anthony Sadler, and 22-year-old Specialist Alek Skarlatos.

It is the story of the American friends that producer/director Clint Eastwood wants to tell. In fact, the three-time Oscar winner is so interested in these three, he had them play themselves in a $30 million studio film.

The opening scene is a doozy, a sharp stick in the eye of public school tyrants eager to feed drugs to boys as a means to control their behavior, or “to make your job easier,” as Spencer’s mother (Judy Greer) puts it just before Spencer and Alek are placed in a Christian middle school.

The Christian environment does not, however, calm the boys’ behavior, and it is in the principal’s outer-office where they complete their trio with Anthony, a street-wise charmer who proceeds to lead them into even more trouble. Eventually real life intrudes and they go their separate ways. For Alek and Spencer, that means life in the military.

Alek is eventually deployed to Afghanistan while Spencer struggles to find his way in the Air Force.  In the summer of 2015, while they are still young and unencumbered, they decide to get the band back together for a trip through Europe. Near the end of the vacation, they find themselves on the 15:17 to Paris.

The only way I can describe Eastwood’s highly original approach to this story is to call it a populist art film. To begin with, the screenplay, written by Dorothy Blyskal, and based on the book written by our three heroes with Jeffrey E. Stern, primarily focuses on just how American these three guys are.

To continue reading: ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ Review: Eastwood’s Ode to the Americanism that Makes Everyday Heroes


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