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United Kingdom 2013
Directed by
Omid Nooshin
97 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Last Passenger

The action thriller is not a genre often seen in British film, so Omid Nooshin’s debut feature, Last Passenger, is a brave effort and one that comes off surprisingly well.

Dougray Scott plays Dr. Lewis Shaler, who's taking his seven year old son, Max (Joshua Kaynama), home to Tunbridge Wells for Christmas on a late-night train. It's business as usual and Lewis even gets chatting to a dishy blonde (Kara Tointon). Passengers gradually disembark but when the train briefly stops he sees something suspicious outside and gradually comes to realize that the train has been hijacked by a suicidal nutter.

If this film had been made in Hollywood there would have been mayhem and destruction, fleets of pursuit vehicles and helicopters and much to-and-fro telephone communication between the passengers and Police HQ in the race against the clock. Nooshin however keeps all the action on the train. There’s the occasional flashing blue light seen through a misty window but that’s it. The stylistic difference is a bit disconcerting (surely a helicopter would have been mustered by the police) but Nooshin is closer to Alfred Hitchcock in approach than Tony Scott or Michael Bay. The focus is on the derring-do abilities of the small group of passengers - besides those mentioned there are an oddly militaristic businessman (David Schofield), a Polish worker (Iddo Goldberg) and a sweet grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) - as they try to stop the train before it smashes them into oblivion. Fortunately the train happens to be one of the old style variety and so there are various options available to the plucky males.

Nooshin keeps the pace taut and the action credible throughout although one sequence involving getting the Pole back in the speeding train before going through a tunnel doesn't quite come off and I couldn’t help wondering why when the train stopped in a single train tunnel didn’t everyone hop out the back door which had been identified earlier.  That aside, as a runaway train movie Last Passenger is refreshingly old school whilst maintaining the requisite nail-biting tension and, for what by Hollywood standards would have been low-budget film-making, is impressively well-made.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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