Directed by Tony Scott
Written by Mark Bomback
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
Released Novemeber 12
1 hour 38 minutes

It’s hard to come up with another film as perfectly crafted as this one. There is no slack in it—none at all. It’s not the type of film I usually rush to see and yet I have nothing but admiration for every aspect of it.

PLOT: Due to the incompetence of two railroad personnel, a train pulls out of a station in Pennsylvania with no personnel onboard. This unmanned train, carrying lethal cargo, is traveling at high speeds, which only get higher over time. This pretty much echoes the build up of suspense in the movie. Three groups of people try to solve the problem-and differ in their approach. A retiring engineer and his new trainee (Washington and Pine) come at the problem via another train; Dawson is in charge of dispatch and operations at the station yard, and Kevin Dunn plays a corporate hack.

There’s not a lot of time in this suspense thriller to develop full-bodied characters but each of the main players sketch in their personalities fairly well. This is necessary for us to care about the outcome and they succeed.

The only thing in this very nice piece of work that felt “off” to me was the number of sightseers that remained trackside. Certainly the police would have cleared the tracks if not the town and the county. But this minor head-scratcher was not enough to ruin one of the best executed films of the year. It’s not the kind of movie you will love years from now but you surely will respect it.


Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.