Unstoppable (2010)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

USA, 2010, , , , Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by , , , , Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by , .

Chris Pine starts his first day on the railroad and isn’t warmly welcomed by the old-timers who work there, showing up in the position of conductor thanks to family connections and new union rules that the grunts are not happy about.  Pine is assigned to work with an engineer (Denzel Washington) on his first day and they don’t hit it off, having no idea that they are running their engine on a track that has a very big problem coming up: an error by a distracted employee () has put a runaway train in motion, a locomotive that is pulling cars full of toxic chemicals and is now streaking its way across the state of Pennsylvania in danger of taking lives and causing an environmental disaster. Attempts to board the train fail, as does a shot at derailing it after evacuating a small town, leaving Washington and Pine to go after it, action-man style, and get the situation under control. The last film made by the late Tony Scott before his untimely death, this one shows off the journeyman filmmaker at his mundane best, the same headline-news-style editing and emphasis on bland Guy humour punctuating the increasingly dangerous stunts. It’s also exciting and free of any unnecessary fat, getting its plot underway quickly and sticking to the crisis at its centre with confidence and authority, making each complication believable until the big finish.  Excellent visual effects contribute a great deal, as do actors smart enough to stay out of the way of the film’s true star, the big engine that is threatening the peace and quiet of the Keystone state.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Sound Editing

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