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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>
The close-up shots of Manny's grip on the coupling show him holding on by just his finger tips, but in the longer shots the positioning of the fingers is different and you see that his whole hand is on top of the coupling. See more »
The stock title promises action and suspense, and we get that, but with a story by Akira Kurosawa, expert direction by Russian émigré Andrei Konchalovsky and superior lensing by Alan Hume, we get a study of what defines a man.
John Voight and the vastly underrated Eric Roberts play two cons who escape from a hellish gulag and board a train with no driver. Their struggle to stop the train and battle their own inner demons is the movie.
Konchalovsky creates a cold, alien, ethereal world inside the train that, in the oddest way, provides a haven for self-examination for the two leads. Rebecca de Mournay is layered into the mix, as is the indefatigable John P. Ryan as a prison warden who risks death to return his charges to custody, but the movie belongs to Voight and Roberts who both bring tremendous humanity to their finely sketched characters.
The final image is as powerful as cinema gets and marks RUNAWAY TRAIN as a modest masterpiece.
Though often criticized for producing cheap rubbish, the Cannon Group, in fact, also produced many fine films including this, 52 PICK-UP and MARIA'S LOVERS (also Konchalovsky).
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