Unstoppable is the farewell film for the popular director Tony Scott, who died 2 years after the film’s release. Unstoppable introduces an adrenaline filled enticing theme that forces one to get a DVD/Bluray. The movie is based on the real-life incident about an unmanned runaway train carrying hazardous chemicals and the authorities attempt to stop it. While the incident garnered media attention and coverage, it was a perfect plot an action thriller.
When engineer Dewey (Ethan Suplee) gets off AWVR 777, a train carrying molten phenol and enough diesel to blow up an entire town, to reset the switch, the accelerator resets and the train moves on leaving him on the ground. There are no air brakes and the train moves at 70 miles per hour speed into populated areas, what’s even worse is the elevated S curve in Stanton which cannot take up speed more than 15 miles per hour and it is located near fuel plants. Two brave men, 28 year old railway veteran Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and conductor Will Coulson (Chris Pine), attempts to stop by chasing it down from the rear end with their locomotive AWVR 1206, backed by instructions from yardmaster Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson).
Unstoppable is an edge of the seat thriller where something or the other happens every 10 minutes, thus forcing the audience to be in their seats, in a way a cure for somnolence. An individual who might put this on television for a second will end up watching the whole thing. Scott direction achieved that impact, thus succeeded in making of a thriller. Tony Scott’s vision included shots and presentation of plotlines in fast cuts, the pacing is too fast to be recorded in one’s head. Every visual signature of a Tony Scott film is seen; yellow tint, grainy and light texture, shaky camera shots, 360-degree shots, helicopter views and of course, Denzel Washington. In broader words, unstoppable is a typical Tony Scott film and has nothing innovative as far the technical side is concerned. Washington filled the screen whenever he is on with his lively performance making Frank Barnes a likable individual due to his quick-thinking, humour and stead fastness. Before him, Chris Pine is less impressive. Pine has done his share of moments in films like Star Trek and Princess Diaries, but in this, he limited his facial expressions to stiff face. His character is going through a lot of issues, like separation from his wife, restraining order and work pressure but none of that well visible in his mannerisms unless he is given a strong dialogue. Rosario Dawson is my favorite person from this movie. She delivered an apt performance for a yardmaster who is under pressure and who gives more importance to ethics and practicality. Dawson’s versatility and brightness are noticed in her filmography and she is one of the most underrated actresses of her generation. The dialogue scenes between Dawson and Washington are worth mentioning where we get to experience the world they are in. Kevin Dunn is fantastic in his role as the VP of train operations Oscar Galvin, someone who is annoying and careless at once.
The movie initially suffered from a jerk due to the anticipation from the audience, but it goes on refine with the flow of the film. The usage of shaky cams is exasperating during fervent moments, already a lot of cuts and moving shots are used, so the “zoom in and out” shots” looked as if they are being overused for the sake creating thrills. Personally, I am not against the usage of shaky cams as long as the audience get to see what happens onscreen and have the experience, if the cinematographer fails to create that impression then the digital imprints look worthless. Ben Seresin’s work is not substandard owing to the helicopters shots taken during the chase sequences but the “zoom in and out” looked shoddy. Editing has created the scenario for the keeping the audience engrossed, music worked at some parts but looked unfavorable for intense sequences; like during the elevated S curve scene. The visual effects team deserve the applause for capturing the train moving sequences, action, and the shots to create excitement and stimulation of goosebumps. The settings as well as the built of the runaway train gave it a devilish or dangerous look, with the number “777” as part of the irony. People tend to challenge the physics as far as the mechanical side of the trains and on how it can be stopped. Several solutions are made regarding the train’s control, like short circuiting, removing the tracks/fish plates for derailing it and uncoupling the cars of the speeding train. The only plothole I can think of is; when railway veteran Judd Stewart attempts the slowing process from the front end using his locomotive, why not let someone jump onto 777 from that, instead of the Afghan’s helicopter stunt? Based on what Frank Barnes did, it seemed easy to see him jump from one coach to the next at 70 miles per hour. Solutions are easier said than done, the events are believable as they are based on real life incident.
Unstoppable is an awe-inspiring entertainer that is completely worth your time and a must watch entertainer for Denzel Washington and Tony Scott fans.
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