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The film is inspired by the "Crazy Eights" unmanned train incident in 2001. The train, led by CSX Transportation SD40-2 #8888, left its Walbridge, Ohio rail yard and began a 66 mile journey through northwest Ohio with no one at the controls, after the engineer got out of the originally slow-moving train to correctly line a switch, mistakenly believing he had properly set the train's dynamic braking system, just as his counterpart in the movie did. Two of the real train's tank cars also contained thousands of gallons of molten phenol, similar to the fictional train in the film. See more »
The hair tie that Connie is wearing on her wrist jumps between her right and left wrist and back again several times during the film. See more »
Simple, Thrilling, and Very Entertaining. Unstoppable never tries to be anything more than it is. It follows a runaway train that occurred in Pennsylvania and the two men that try to stop it. First off, I gotta five Tony Scott credit for making a film about trains, that in itself is pretty interesting. How many people know about and use trains regularly? Then take that and turn into one of the most suspenseful, entertaining films of the year culminates into a really good time. The film's opening credits starts with how the train was lost and runs away, so right off the bat you know that it's not going to be a dull film. Before any of the main characters are brought into the story the antagonist and therefore the action get underway. Your then introduced to Will, played by Chris Pine, and Frank, played by Denzel Washington. Will is the rookie conductor that is placed under the veterans Frank's wing. Then you have Connie, played by Rosario Dawson, as the head of all the trains currently running, basically a conductor that oversees all operations, who is in charge of finding a solution to the runaway train, while also dealing with the corporate suits, mainly Oscar Galvin, played by Kevin Dunn, who are more interested in stock prices and money losses then the overall safety and physical damage the train could cause. So, after some failed attempts to stop the train, Denzel comes up with a plan to stop it, and this is where Will and Frank become involved with the runaway.
Tony Scott does a pretty good job of making the runaway train look menacing, almost like a monster that no matter what you do always keeps coming for you. The majority of special effects and stunt work were done realistically with very little CGI being used, which for me is always a plus. With it being based on a true story he definitely uses a lot of tactics to make it feel less like a film and more like your actually watching the action happen presently. There's a lot of bird eye shots of the trains making it feel like a news helicopters are shooting it, while also cutting to news broadcasts following the runaway train through the majority of the film creating a more realistic view of the whole story. He also filmed on location in Pennsylvania, which was pretty cool living in central PA and having the opportunity to talk with some of the crew.
As for the characters, the first half of the film, is where the majority of the very little character development comes into play. Will and Frank bicker back and forth at each other, when unsurprisingly they find a common bond through broken families with their wives and children. There are also many conversations, which mostly turn into arguments, between Connie and Oscar about how to stop the runaway train and the potential problems it could cause. Yet, due to the pacing and strategic place of key conversations you end up caring about the characters and are pulling for them to get out of this disaster alive. The most important and character revealing dialogue occurs during the more explosion filled scenes with the train.
Overall, it's a pretty fun time, and never has a boring moment. Just when you think the dialogue may be getting a bit to breathy and boring, Scott crashes the runaway into some object causing a major explosion. It's one of those no brain activity films that you can just sit back and enjoy. The characters are there and Scott makes sure not to fill the runtime up with too much dialogue, but with just enough to develop Frank, Will, and Connie into people we want to see succeed. Lastly, it doesn't try to be anything more than it is. It's a film about a runaway train and the people trying to stop it, that's it. Unstoppable is a thrilling ride and a guaranteed enjoyable viewing.
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