Last Passenger, a British movie low on both concept and budget, set on the last train out of London, doesn’t sound like it promises too much and indeed it barely bothered the box office.
But put all cynicism aside and get your tickets ready for inspection– Last Passenger is a disaster movie of the old school and something of a minor triumph.
A&E consultant Lewis (rugged Scots nearly man Dougray Scott) is heading home after taking his son to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in London’s glittering West End. The last train to Hastings is full of drunks and creeps, but Lewis lucks out and strikes up a flirty friendship with suburban hotstuff Sarah (TV sexpot Kara Tointon).
Wouldn’t you know that Lewis’ wife has died and Sarah’s recently dumped her boyfriend? Shazam! Instant chemistry. And she’s good with Lewis’ precocious/bratty son. Lewis’ night is looking up.
But all is not what it seems on the late-night stopping train. Somewhere south of Sevenoaks someone wrestles control and stops stopping. And speeds ever faster.
All the ingredients of a classic disaster movie are present and are mixed up with flair. A handsome leading man; his arm candy; a child; and a grab bag of society in the supporting cast (Iddo Goldberg, David Schofield and Lindsay Duncan, all excellent), none of whom appear to be taking it too seriously.
Can they put their differences aside and stop the train before it becomes The Great Hastings Wipe Out? Just who is driving the train?
See, Last Passenger is the sort of movie Steven Spielberg would once have made, in the vein of Duel or Jaws. An unseen villain, some smart blind alleys, a few nicely rounded characters, and, of course, an extremely slappable child.
None of this is to say that director Omid Nooshin is necessarily on the path to greatness, but as a first feature Last Passenger shows some serious promise.
So get on board and please mind any plot gaps, for this is a first-class disaster movie.