A hardened convict and a younger prisoner escape from a brutal prison in the middle of winter only to find themselves on an out-of-control train with a female railway worker while being pursued by the vengeful head of security. Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Some have pointed out that the dead-man switch, a device intended for this exact situation, should have put on the brakes and stopped the train. Indeed, it should have - however, it is explained in the film that the dead-man switch malfunctioned. See more »
[after listening to Buck's dream]
That's bullshit. You're not gonna do nothin' like that. I'll tell you what you gonna do. You gonna get a job. That's what you gonna do. You're gonna get a little job. Some job a convict can get, like scraping off trays in a cafeteria. Or cleaning out toilets. And you're gonna hold onto that job like gold. Because it is gold. Let me tell you, Jack, that is gold. You listenin' to me? And when that man walks in at the end of the day. And he comes to see how you ...
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"Runaway Train" is hardly a perfect film as others have mentioned, there are plenty of things here that feel tacked on, implausible, or even ridiculous (the Captain Ahab of a villain risking his own life to destroy his enemy, the silly riot scenes in the prison, the over-the-top speechifying and florid epigraph at the end credits, etc., etc.). But surprisingly, we find ourselves left with an impression of overall integrity and intelligent artistry quite the feat, considering the number of melodramatic or otherwise un-subtle elements in the mix. In particular, Jon Voight's hamminess gets to be a bit much, but Eric Roberts's twitchiness for once creates a character who seems vulnerable and likable (if still occasionally obnoxious). And Rebecca De Mornay is quite surprising, and shows herself to be a real actress despite the vamp roles in which she most often finds herself typecast. The pacing and the rhythm of the dialogue is somewhat odd, but rather than irritating or alienating us, it seems to ground the film in its own unique textural world. At its best, "Runaway Train" reminded me of "Night of the Living Dead" or another great people-trapped-in-a-little-room suspense film, and it's worth the effort for most viewers. 7.5 out of 10.
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