MovieChat Forums > The 15:17 to Paris (2018) Discussion > I don't understand the critics on this o...

I don't understand the critics on this one

As I'm sure many of you have seen, this film is currently sitting at a 20% Rotten Tomatoes score.

For me, the bottom line here is that I thought this was one of the most interesting films that I've seen in a long time.

Knowing that the real-life guys were untrained actors and played themselves in the movie, I said that I would be able to come to terms with the performances as long as I could get C-level performances out of these guys and I felt like I got that. The dude you see in the trailers with the shaved head really is the lead in the movie--he gets the most screentime and apparently he was the one in real life who both initiated the attack against the terrorist and finished the guy--and, while I wouldn't go so far as to call him "pretty good" in terms of his performance I at least feel comfortable in saying that he was "not bad."

I thought his performance felt fairly natural. The other two guys were a bit more wooden, but not to the extent that I really thought it was a problem. The fact that I knew I was watching the actual guys--these were THE guys who did the shit--really made the movie a lot more interesting to me than it otherwise would've been and having now seen the movie I think that Clint made an inspired decision to cast them.

As many reviewers have mentioned, the actual attack on the train is brief. We probably spend 15 to 20 minutes total on the train with the attack comprising just a few of those minutes. The rest of the time on the train is either build up or aftermath.

Clint chooses to start from the ground up, initially exploring these guys' childhood and how they met and how then two of them joined the military. Then it turns into something of a travelogue as we just hang out with these guys and get to know them more as they travel around Europe, and then finally we get the attack on the train.

I'm not sure why it is that the critics decided to attack this one. It may be that there are strong, overt religious and political themes undergirding the story. As we know, most critics tend to lean left, and I can't help but think that some personal bias may be coming into play here. I suppose one needs not specifically be against these things to dislike this film--one could simply be disinterested entirely--but like I said, I found the movie to be a very interesting and ultimately emotional experience.

I enjoyed it and feel bad for the real-life guys who made this movie, gave it their all, and had their story told, only for the film to be ripped apart and talked down to. I'm going to give it an 8/10.


The audience score isn't that great either...

So maybe it's just a bit idiosyncratic for people... I think with rotten tomatoes in particular, movies that are a bit out of the normal or that are the product of a personal vision of the filmmaker tend not to do well... The rating system only allows for loved it or hated it ratings, so the movies that avoid any "rotten" score will rate very highly... That means movies that don't risk getting rotten scores by being controversial, challenging or that do things in a different way like casting non-actors for the main roles and such... If you want a high score you have to play it safe in all aspects of the movie, from the story and themes to the filmmaking and presentation...

This leads to a lot of standardised and boring movies rated highly, but a lot of personal or challenging movies being rated low... The ratings are a vedy blunt and distorted instrument...

I think there is also some truth to the idea that the underlying themes like authentic non-ironic religious belief and such don't play well with most of the critics in the US... But it's probably not the whole reason for the low scores...

I haven't seen the movie yet, but this is my guess about the topic in general...


It's not a terrible movie, it certainly held my interest. But I just felt the guy's were a little flat and their backstories just felt like padding out the movie rather than compelling parts of the movie. I would much rather have seen how they dealt with being in the spotlight and all that came after the attack for them rather than them in grade school.

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Haven't seen the film - but heard the basics. The attack lasted minutes... that's not a lot to go on. United 93 played out much better in that sense - the attack there lasted a long while and the buildup was done on all fronts.

I imagine you might have the build-up here as well - but only on 2 fronts and the attack lasts only a few minutes - in other words, I fully expect this film to have a ton of filler material which would bore most viewers to tears.


Agreed.....there indeed was a brief attack that was actually major....I saw this and rate 10/10!!

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Watching the movie now and - yeah, the acting is definitely flat. They come off like a bunch of dudes reading a script. Basically, they can't act like they are in that moment. The child actors who were acting out their youth years were way better - and child actors are generally crappy. So there's that.

And yeah, it's obvious their lives were fairly average prior to the big event - there wasn't much to work with - not a whole lot of drama. At the same time, I feel like they did want to stick to the facts - this is why most films based on real stories add a ton of fiction to make the story stand out.

All in all, I totally get why this film got panned.


The train scene makes the film. Casting the real heroes was interesting but these guys can’t carry the weak first 3/4 of the film. The destiny, religious themes are not just overt, they are bold print with neon yellow highlighted overt. The worst of this was the airport scene with the actress who plays Pam from The Office. I had a flashback to Charlton Heston as Moses


I liked it. To me, a minimum 7/10 or higher. That said, I don't have some "fancy film degree", so I wouldn't know good acting much of the time.

I guess it's like food. If a veteran or anybody else who couldn't cook for $$$$ cooked me a meal, my main criteria would be to not get food poisoning. I'm not going to go all Gordon Ramsey on taste, texture, presentation, arrangement of ingredients, flavor palettes, why something blue cheese and bacon is a no-no :D