A group of passengers on a train must find a way to stop its driver to save their lives
Starring Dougray “shouldn’t you be more famous by now?” Scott as a single father travelling with his son Max played by Joshua Kaynama, former Eastender Kara Tointon as The Love Interest™ (every film has one), David Schofield as cantankerous old man and Iddo Goldberg as disrespectful young man.
Before the film started I expected this to be another film about two, probably American, tourist who board a train in Eastern Europe and are stalked by a psycho killer leading to a bloody confrontation.
I’m talking about you Transsiberian!
Then I seen it was British and my heart sank. Set in London with gobby, loud, chavs that have no redeeming qualities but walk out of the film as the heroes. That seems to be a worrying trend in British films recently.
I’m talking about you Attack the Block!
So the film starts off ok with Dougray and his son talkin… wait there’s chavs! Thankfully they are background and not in the film for too long. So Dougray and Kara have their chance encounter moment thanks to his son, his toy triceratops Harry (the true antagonist of this film), a cup of coffee and a coat.
Children in films tend to talk like adults. They seem to always have an interest or skill established early in the film that becomes necessary later on. And don’t forget their attitude, they always know better especially with their dads but Max isn’t like that. He comes across more as a young child and doesn’t really have that many scenes. Refreshing.
They get talking and Max and Harry decide to play by one of the trains doors causing it to unexpectedly come open nearly throwing Max and Harry out of the carriage. Told you Harry is the true villain of this film.
Then you’re introduced to the trains conductor as he ask Iddo Goldberg to put out his fag causing a confrontation within which we are introduced to cantankerous old man who stands up to him.
The train stops and most people get off while Dougray notices someone crawling on the tracks. The train proceeds to miss his stop as tensions rise within the newly formed group. Unable to contact the driver the group must find away of stopping the train or getting off.
I liked this. All the characters are worth watching and wonderfully performed. I don’t think there was a bad performance from anyone with special mention going to Harry. I don’t know if the script manages to avoid too many clichés or if it is less about having the same old characters like the always right rolling her eyes female, hopeless dad who struggles to connect to his child or the disrespectful child who has a constant attitude towards his father.
Yes you could argue cantankerous old man and disrespectful young man aren’t exactly original but that’s where the script probably works as you will still find yourself rooting for them.
The bad guy… well this is another aspect of the film I liked. He’s always in charge. You don’t know who he is or his motivations and you don’t see him. He’s mysterious and has complete control of the situation at all times which is refreshing. Sometimes you just don’t need to know a backstory or have an explanation for someone’s actions because their motivations simply won’t be convincing enough. I also don’t need all my antagonist to be humanised.
The picture quality is great. the director wanted to film it on 35mm but that wasn’t affordable on a film with a £2.5 million budget. Looks like it is an almost a completely digital industry now. The film has a highly polished look about it and uses special fx very convincingly. One scene of note is at a crossing, if this had been Hollywood the explosion would’ve been huge with a long build up, over the top and shown from many angles but here it’s sudden and even part of the background for part of it which adds to the realism.
Yes it does employ a bit of film logic and not really horror. In fact i don’t know what it is as it has a bit of mystery, thriller, action and is light on the deaths but it does what it’s supposed to and that is entertain.
I was pleasantly surprised and would recommend this as a fun way to spend 90 minutes