The 15:17 to Paris ★★★½

"Isn't camo cool?"
For all its bizarrely modernist touches and the way in which it renders its heroism as a footnote to sustained mundanity, I'm ultimately undecided on how much of what this film does works. More fascinating than it is in-the-moment-engaging, 15:17's seeming banality is mysterious and more than meets the eye.

A vision of All-American heroes who don't fit their parts and reveal both virtues and holes in the fabric of the society that made them dream of war. The terrorist emerging on the train becomes a manifestation of Stone's longing to be a soldier, a subconscious conjuring of violence to make his life matter and affirm his nation's values (articulating the two-sides-of-a-coin relationship between the U.S.A. and terrorism). There is sincere worship here (though similar to Sully, Eastwood effectively deconstructs the simplicity of the hero narrative and even more pronounced here is the idea that this was just a thing that happened in a moment of time that someone reacted to), and it's genuinely moving, but as always the patriotic gestures in his cinema are undercut with tragic undertones—the incident is ecstatic wish fulfillment for these good natured, normal American citizens. They began training for the 15:17 as soon they were born in the United States. And it's not just something to celebrate.