Of all the excuses British Rail has churned out over the years, from the wrong snow on the track to “slippery rain”, it’s unlikely you’ve heard “crazed man has taken the train hostage” but this is the concept behind action thriller Last Passenger.
Heading out of London towards Hastings a mis-matched group of commuters, including A & E doctor Lewis (Dougray Scott), flirtatious Sarah (Kara Tointon), stuffy businessman Peter (David Schofield) and ticket dodging Tube worker Jan (Iddo Goldberg), find their train hurtling through all their stations without so much as an “all change” announcement. When the guard is found dead and the driver’s door firmly locked it becomes clear they’re in a spot of bother. After a bit of head scratching and little help from the police the passengers decide to take matters into their own hands to stop the train.
Kind of like a low budget Speed or Under Siege 2, Last Passenger offers up enough thrills and spills to keep you interested for the duration of the journey time. It builds nicely, with Scott and Tointon’s stolen glances and double entendres hinting at an interesting romance. There are of course the typical arguments that ensue in any survival horror but the script’s biggest failing is refusing to offer a firm conclusion. It’s only ever hinted as to why the driver has taken the train hostage but a satisfying answer is ever firmly agreed on.
Director Omid Nooshin, making his feature debut, lends a kinetic and gritty feel to proceedings putting a limited budget to impressive use. Yes the train looks about as archaic as The Orient Express but you never question the authenticity of the action and he certainly ticks all the right boxes of becoming an interesting action director if given a bigger canvas to work on.
Like any train in the United Kingdom Last Passenger suffers a few delays and whilst certainly not first class it does get to its desired destination in the end.