Friday, November 25, 2011


2010, US, directed by Tony Scott

Tony Scott's last couple of films have taken place over a compressed period of time, and Unstoppable extends that trend to its logical conclusion, with a story told virtually in real time as a runaway train thunders toward a grimy Pennsylvania town. Despite the presence of Denzel Washington on his fifth outing for Scott, the trains dominate the screen for much of the running time, colour-coded, and no doubt colour-corrected, against the striking rust-belt locations.

Washington's character seems like an extension of the solid career man he played in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, albeit this time at the controls of a train rather than in the operations room; that job is taken here by Rosario Dawson, who is terrific as a straightforward woman focused on solving problems rather than respecting hierarchies. Despite the film's physical drama, Scott is also strikingly attentive to workplace details: these people, concerned about office politics, union policies, and chilly corporate decision-making, are nicely drawn despite the film's adrenalized presentation, although the corporate types are, for the most part, rather less subtly drawn.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States