Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Last Passenger - film review

Last Passenger is a very watchable 2013 British thriller film. All the action takes place on a train, and this has prompted reviewers to venture various train movie jokes - Strangeness on a Train, and The Driver Vanishes among them. Succumbing to the same temptation, I can only add that it may not be Murder on the Tunbridge Wells Express, but at least the storyline wasn't completely Derailed.

Dougray Scott plays Lewis, a widowed surgeon who is accompanied by his young son Max on a late night train journey. Lewis gets into conversation with a pretty fellow passenger, played by Kara Tointon, and she is giving him her number when he is the realisation that the train has just whizzed past his usual stop. We already know that Something Nasty has happened to the guard, but we don't know exactly what is going on.

There are only three other passengers left on the train at this point. A pleasant older woman is played by Lindsay Duncan, a stroppy young man by Iddo Goldberg and an officious businessman by David Schofield. Schofield's character is the only one who makes a concerted effort to phone for help, but none is forthcoming. This aspect of the storyline bothered me rather, and prompted me to imagine a particular plot twist that never materialised.

In fact, this is a tense action film, but it's very light on plot. Some critics have seen this as a strength, and I think this is because there are plenty of movies where the twists seem highly contrived and rather irritating. Shallow as I may be, though, I do like a meaty plot,and I found the thin storyline a little disappointing. Some reviews compare this to Hitchcock's work, but I don't think it resembles the Master of Suspense's best movies very closely - it's just too thin,and the source of the suspense is too simple. I don't want to say too much about the ending, but I thought it anti-climactic. For me, though, the great strength of the film is the cast - it's really strong, and Dougray Scott, as usual, is excellent. What a fine actor he is.

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