So 'Last Passenger' this only came to my attention only a couple of days a go. It was fairly recent in terms of time frame. I watched Kara Tointon being interviewed, talking about this film and I then I watched the trailer and it seemed to relate to me as the sort of film, I would be interested in seeing.
I've watched it all week. I think the film is terrific, It's one of few thriller films of this generation that makes you want to engage with the characters, want to engage with the situation. Because in the case of 'Last Passenger' what you get is Six ordinary people, who are on a train and are presented with a scenario which, let's face it could happen to anyone at anytime, it could happen to someone tonight, I hope not.
The film is the vision of the director 'Omid Nooshin' who is into the sort of Spielberg/Hitchcock sort of type of films. I think because he's written it, directed it and edited it, it makes the film all the more special that it's one person's vision but not for one moment is he presenting a strong view of how he feels in his characters.
He is very much on the ball, knows exactly what he wants from his actors, and knows exactly what he's doing, so much to the extent I commend him for allowing us to take time at the start to get to know the characters, and actually invest in them before, the high tense action stuff happens. I thought that was really clever, and he was taking a risk by doing that, and it pays off.
Going into the story now, Well I love it so much that I'm probably going to reveal the whole story that you probably won't need to go and watch it, because I would of told you everything that happens in it, but I will try not to reveal any big spoilers.
Well, it's set on a train. obviously, the events take place over the course of one night. And it tells the story of Sarah Barwell (Kara Tointon) who is a beautiful young lady in her early 30's who gets on the train, which so happens to be occupied by a Doctor called Lewis (Dougray Scott) who is a man in his late 40's, pushing 50. Who has taken his 7 year old son Max (Josh Kaynama) to see a theatre show in London 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'.
They got on the train at Charin Cross on their way back to Kent, and while he is on the train, his son spills coffee over Sarah which of course is very embarrassing for Lewis. However, it does give him an opportunity to connect with this mysterious, and attractive young person because he's a widower and he hasn't had a relationship with anyone since his wife unfortunately passed away, vice versa Sarah has broken up with her boyfriend so they are both single.
So they start talking, get into the flow of conversation, get a vibe going and it's very late and night and little by little the passengers get off the train, until there is only Six passengers left. Things go so well for Lewis, that Sarah decides to give him her number, and he and Max are about to get off the train, but... the train doesn't stop. It keeps going, which suggests that 'someone' has taken control of the train.
It's only at that pivital moment, everything flips on its side and the film becomes quite thrilling, action packed and sinister all at the same time. Lewis, tries to find the train guard, but the guard can't be found and for the rest of the film, it's the six remaining passengers trying to find a way of how to stop the train. That's basically it.
But this story is jam packed with juicy character development which makes the drama all the more inciting and gripping for an hour and a half you get an awful lot, which is fantastic because it simply demonstrates how a simplistic plot can be reduced down to a reasonable not so time consuming running time, and have all the depth and wonderful development that is needed to make you engage and care for the characters, which is what happened to me when I watched this film.
Anyway, here's a trailer.
I have to say the cast for this was absolutely near perfect! I know I say nothing perfect, but believe me when I say that the casting for every single character was near enough bang on the nose.
Dougray Scott - he doesn't look like a normal action hero, and he's not a hero. But he's intuitive - he knows when something is not right, he is quick to act on his feet, he is charming, he cares for his son, he is a very clever character. But normal, he's not Bruce Willis from Die Hard, he to me look ordinary and not like an action hero. Most action films have a lead who does a boring job which they hate, and suddenly the develop the skills of a professional gymnast and you think... What? Come off it, there's no way that they could do that. Lewis is just an ordinary doctor, who is an intuitive, clever, quick thinker. Who is challenged by Sarah, who I think is a character which excites him. 10/10 Performance!
Kara Tointon - well what can I say? I love Kara. She's a brilliant actress and a wonderful personality. It's good to see her doing a proper part, being the leading female in a film, but not just any film her first big break after winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2010.
What's good about Kara is she's got a lovely, natural warmth and excessablity about her as a person, which feeds into her performance and it's very hard to dislike her. What I'm trying to say is you can't act that, that's a gift. She's a bit cheeky to start off, because she's been out with her friends, she's had a bit to drink so she's a bit tipsy and a bit flirtatious, but it's all playable in the first 10 - 15 minutes of the film; and Kara has some excellent scenes with Dougray, and of course there is the kiss which they share when Max is not looking, and that adds to the whole 'will they, won't they' kind of thing they got going on. It obvious they like each other, and you can tell Kara and Dougray got on really well.
And in cut away moments, Sarah actually becomes a really likable friend to Max. So her role is a pivital role in the course of the evening for Lewis and Max in this great time of crisis. I really do hope that Kara goes on to be in more films because I've seen her in Eastenders, I've seen her do Strictly and voted for her, I've seen her documentray that she did about 'Dyslexia' 'Don't Call Me Stupid', I've even her live on Stage in theatre doing 'Pygmalion' with Rupert Everret and 'Relativly Speaking' with Felicity Kendall; so I really hope that she does more in the future, because she has great potential a head of her. 10/10 Performance!
David Schofield - He's one of Two Characters, I thought was a little underdeveloped. He plays 'Peter Carmichael' in the film and he is a very play it by the book sort of guy, follow the rules type of character. There are moments where he is quite 'mystery man' and acting in a confrontational way that makes him an enormously suspicious character, but deep down, he's a very nice but misunderstood man.
Iddo Goldberg - His character of 'Jan' is pointing a very large finger at the way of life. I mean he's a polish immigrant who works for London Underground, and just has a care free attitude which creates contrast amongst his fellow characters in the film, like Carmichael. He starts off being the 'mystery' man, but actually is a really nice character, who you actually grow to like very much.
Lindsay Duncan - Brilliant actress, is wonderful in this film. Sadly her character I felt was underdeveloped and just didn't get enough scene time.
Josh Kaynama - As Max, Lewis's 7 Year old son as a newcomer is so wonderfully natural in the role and you believe that the relationship between him and his father figure in Dougray is real. He's really cute and inquisitive as most 7 year old boys are. There is a bit in this actually which upsets me and that's the scene where Lewis is forcing Max to get off the train, Max is too scared to go and he's crying. That didn't sit right with me because I didn't like to see Max so upset, that his Dad was forcing him to leave his side in a very forceful way.
The script is solid. The story is solid, the only thing that I find a problem to contemplate with the story is the high jacker himself. We never get any indication as to who he is, what he was doing on the train, other than the fact that he's a maniac, and he wants to die but cause a scene which will explode in publicity interest, plus killing all 6 remaining passengers on the train.
The visual effects for this film are fantastic, because not for one moment to do ever fault the fact that you are on a moving train. It's the simulator and the wonderful set designers, and Omid's clever whit of directing technique in the cut and in the edit. What's great about it is, there is no green screen. Not at all. But it's still looks all the more realistic.
My main problem with this film is that it needed to be longer. I was very sad when it ended, I loved it so much when it finished I was like 'No! That can't be the end'. I wanted more, and then I relaised a light bulb moment, every good story teller always leaves their audience wanting more. That is what's important with storytelling and something I can take away for reference. I would of liked the film to be a bit longer however, just so we get a nicer round off ending as to : Where do things stand for Sarah and Lewis? Will they keep in touch? What about Jan? and other questions like that.
I loved so many things about 'Last Passenger', I love the tense screenplay, and the humanity of every character. I love that it was shot "in camera" so many films use CG to create a world and Last Passengers world exists in reality and was captured perfectly by a skilled director in Omid. I am so disheartened and let down that I didn't see this in the cinema, but there you go, that's life. It is cast brilliantly; Kara and Dougray were inspired choices! I watch this film over and over again, and never get board of it. 9/10! However, in some cases it is worth a 10/10!
NEXT: Will Any Gentlemen?