Nick Schager Reviews Unstoppable

Unstoppable‘s title is a dirty lie, but only insofar as it relates to the film’s “inspired by true events” story about a 2001 unmanned runaway train in southern Pennsylvania; as a description of Tony Scott’s assaultive aesthetics, it’s spot-on. Except, however, that during the opening passages of his latest, the director’s style is surprisingly toned down relative to his prior The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and Déjà Vu. Such a comparatively reserved tone allows Scott to smoothly lay out his formulaic setup, in which—on the day of locomotive 777’s driverless trip down the tracks, a mishap caused by operator incompetence—new-kid-on-the-block Will (Chris Pine) is paired with retiring pro Frank (Denzel Washington), a rookie-vs.-vet dynamic that Mark Bomback’s script milks for predictable age-related tension and humor.

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