It’s never easy having to admit defeat after sitting through 90 minutes of a film willing it to get better, only for it to keep on getting worse by every passing second. Despite purporting to tell a touching story about bravery and heroism in the eye of mindless violence, Clint Eastwood’s latest offering as director, The 15:17 To Paris, is not only baffling in its sloppiness, but also fails on all accounts and ultimately winds up looking embarrassingly amateurish. All of which begs the question, how was this ever allowed to see the light of day?

In the summer of 2015, Anthony Sadler, Alek Scarlatos and Spencer Stone (playing themselves), three American soldiers backpacking around Europe managed to confront a terrorist aboard a train bound for Paris, stopping him from killing dozens of innocent people. The incident, which subsequently lead to global fame for the three friends, also saw them presented with La Legion D’honneur, France’s highest order of merit, by the then president Francois Hollande.

Eastwood’s insistence on casting the three real life heroes as themselves might seem unnecessarily risky and a tad self-indulgent to some, however that’s not where the film’s biggest problem lies. In fact, Sadler, Scarlatos and Stone should be commended for trying their hardest despite being given very little to work with in a screenplay which, to be blunt, is just not very engaging. Moreover, it’s Eastwood’s failure to bring anything resembling a coherent storyline which results in the film’s inability to roll smoothly from the get go. By offering up a narrative packed full of needlessly hawkish, jingoistic and not to mention embarrassingly moralising clichés, The 15:17 To Paris is simply not very believable or compelling enough to warrant anyone’s attention.

15 17 to parisApart from the fact that the three heroes seem to have spent very little time in front of a camera before taking on these roles, the decision to take the story all the way back to their childhood only serves in boring audiences stiff. In fact, not even Judy Greer or Jenna Fischer, who play two of the heroes respective mothers, are able to save the film from being a muddled mess.

Having said that, once we get the main the event itself, the incident is handled with great reserve and commendable attention to detail. But that’s about it, literally nothing that comes before or after is even worth mentioning, because there simply isn’t a story to tell. All in all, a huge disappointment from start to finish.

The 15:17 To Paris is in cinemas from Friday 9th of February