Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane


-Film Poster

I also continued my mindless movie watching, although Unstoppable by Tony Scott may not qualify. Scott’s films are almost always better than Ridley’s because they don’t mistake themselves for philosophical works. This movie is just trying to be a perfectly tuned and engaging story. And it is. Now, the Tony Scott camera and editing candy are still there, but the timeline, the clear purpose, the spot-on performances, and everything else work together perfectly. What makes the movie soar though–and it does soar–is that the scale is just right. This is real world danger confronted and dealt with by real world heroics. A guy jumps off a creeping train for just a second and then trips and suddenly lives are in danger. The heroes are just trying to lock a new engine to the train. No crazy stunts, no wire-work, and it’s scary. When Chris Pine has to jump from a truck to the train at the very end, it’s only a few inches but at 70 miles per hour. It looked as dangerous as it was, and I actually said to myself: “I would never do that. Ever.” Same goes for Denzel Washington’s character: he makes a run to the front of the train on the roof but is cut off by a gap and a rail that he can’t jump over without falling off. There is no gritting of the teeth, no setting of the jaw and then jumping, no him just doing it because he has to even though he can’t. There’re no anti-gravity boots. He’s stuck and he’s stuck and that’s that. Makes sense to me.

Posted November 6, 2011