Synopsis: Unstoppable pits an engineer and his conductor in a race against time as they chase down a runaway train in a separate locomotive before it derails on a curve and causes a toxic spill that will decimate a town.
Marquee: Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson, Chris Pine
The success of Unstoppable is based on its simplicity.
We’re barely introduced to our two heroes – veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and rookie conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine) – before the incompetence of a Pennsylvania engineer accidentally sends an unmanned train barreling south on a northbound track and sets the plot in motion.
While this could send some critics over the edge, moviegoers clearly understand the severity of the situation. It begs the question of whether some of today’s verbose moments are even needed.
Washington is one of those rare performers who inherently brings a degree of integrity to anything he does. His presence is vital to our buying into the film. Solid as always, the actor has us sympathizing and cheering for this soon-to-be-retired widower, while Pine impresses as a man trying to prove himself both as a co-worker and husband.
What I love about this film is that as the train picks up speed, so does the intensity of the tension. Moviegoers are kept on the edge of the seats realizing that engine 777 will wipe out any of the small burgs it rattles through once it hits the winding bend it’s sure to derail on.
Even the absence of big-budget pyrotechnics makes the film that much better. The vibrations and noise and chaos of the collisions are the real McCoy. Director Tony Scott mostly avoided computer-generated effects in favor of shooting real vehicular carnage.
Unstoppable is a testament to the adage of less is more.