Posted by: greercn | November 16, 2010

Unstoppable

A runaway train with a deadly cargo has no originality factor as a plot. Yet in Tony Scott’s deft and gorgeous movie, the memories of others in this genre slip away. Simply, this is a fantastic and gripping story about courage and trust.

The early scenes are not promising. There’s that jerky hand-held camera nonsense that makes you a little dizzy and annoyed. The clash between Will, played by Chris Pine and Frank, the ever-wonderful Denzel Washington, seems to promise a young gun versus old experience film. That idea is there, but it soon yields to one of the purest action movies I have seen this year. And what action!

Two dumb guys let loose a train with eight cars worth of chemical soup on board. The train will destroy part of working class Pennsylvania if it isn’t stopped. Can you see most of this coming? I could but that didn’t stop the whole thing from being a perfect pleasure, from start to finish.

In the key roles, Pine and Washington are funny, touching and utterly rooted in their communitiess. Pine plays a troubled newcomer to trains, although he has family connections, working on the railway. Washington plays a 28-year career veteran. Both have personal difficulties but – hooray – the film ignores and brushes these aside in a great steamroller of a fast-paced story.

Rosario Dawson is exceptionally good as the controller back at home base, advising our boys. How refreshing it is that she has no back story and no personal difficulties to resolve in the role of Connie. Lew Temple as Ned and Kevin Corrigan as Werner play great supporting roles. Kevin Dunn as Galvin is the closest we get to a bad guy, but he’s really just corporate and that is totally okay.

David Warshofsky as Judd gives a nuanced and delicate performance as another old timer with courage and style.

The real stars are the glorious trains, helicopters and action stunts. The rural and small town backgrounds look good too. It just whooshes you along with it, without too much of anything unpleasant. There are moments of fear and even of death, but these yield to the best values of life moving forward as its own true force.

I absolutely adore this movie. This is why I love film so much. “Unstoppable” just grabs you and doesn’t let you go from the earliest scenes. And you miss it as soon as it’s over and that ending feels like it’s much too soon.

This wonderful freebie was my first visit to the Vue at the Islington O2 Academy. I go to the music venue often, but I had never been to this cinema. The seats are comfortable, the temperature is perfect and the fast food is sold from vendors in the screening rooms. How great is that? It’s even remarkably clean, I had lots of leg room and I have very long legs. I will be very happy to pay to come here in future. I give a big thumbs up to the cheerful management and staff.

Huge clear screens and a well-behaved audience helped too. It’s coming to Stratford Picture House and it’s a fabulous film. I will buy the DVD and bore everyone with why this harks back to a better and less psychologically motivated time for movie making. It’s aimed at the boys, but the girls will understand and enjoy it too. It’s the perfect date movie, with something good for everyone.

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