Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Directed by: Tony Scott
Written by: Mark Bomback
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine & Rosario Dawson
Simple storytelling: sometimes that is the best ingredient for making an entertaining film. While many bang on and on (and on) about "thin" plot this and "simple" story that, a film which is straightforward in its intentions, has characters we can root for and is unfussy in its approach to just telling its story can be just what us viewers need to be entertained as much as any complex, character driven film. That's the beauty of Unstoppable: a simple, straightforward story told well and excitingly. Not to say its characters are under nourished as they are perfectly drawn and interesting for this film but they don't get in the way of what Unstoppable is all about: a runaway train.
There is a runaway train tearing through the American mid west, loaded with dangerous toxins, and a couple of blue collar workers (Washington and Pine) are the two would be heroes who give it a shot at trying to stop it before it kills hundreds of people. They encounter opposition from various and nefarious bureaucratic types who want to avoid an "incident" but form an alliance with plucky track controller Rosario Dawson who keeps them up to date over the radio with what's going on and helps conceive of ideas of how to stop the rampaging juggernaut. From there on in it's daring and stunt filled attempts to stop the train, all delivered in Tony Scott's adrenaline rush style of cinema.
Unstoppable is an entertaining ride and harks back to the simpler days of blockbusting action cinema. We have heroes to root for, the set-pieces are big but done with real stunts and while the outcome is never in doubt, it's still a fun ride getting there. While events can't stop from slipping into cheesy predictability on occasion, Scott keeps everything rocketing along at such a fun pace he delivers exactly what this film is about, and needs to be about: a runaway train. The action, destruction and set-pieces are big and loud and are put together with charge and ferocity. Scott also mercifully forgoes the CGI root hardly using it at all, much of the big action staged for real making it much more exciting. Crashes, smashes, derailments and some very dangerous stunts making for an action saturated good time.
The two leads are on solid form playing their predictable heroes well and at least have good chemistry. Rosairo Dawson is on even finer form (and looking mighty fine) infusing her character with much needed spark and personality as she spends a good deal of the film talking over the radio with the two train bound leads. So all-in-all a rip roaring good time that makes simplicity work in its favour for some runaway train, stunt filled good times. Scott can't quite help but rely a little too much on the rapid camerawork and editing but certainly gets the adrenaline pumping which is what any good disaster film should do: especially one about a runaway train smashing through small town America