Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Train

With the Allies closing in to liberate France, a German colonel (Paul Scofield) decides to transport all the precious works of art  to the fatherland by way of locomotive to boost the waning war effort. In order to take up the dangerous mantle of stopping the train and reclaiming the paintings, the task falls to a French rail worker and resistance leader (Burt Lancaster), who at first does not see the purpose in risking lives for art, but eventually comes around when one of his comrades is murdered in that pursuit. "The Train" is a superior action thriller from director John Frankenheimer, that provides nail biting thrills while providing the technical workings of its featured mechanisms, i.e. the functioning of the train, the unhinging of its tracks, the specifications of C-4 dynamite. Additionally, the film also serves as a wonderful and credible argument for the importance of art. Lancaster is at his quietly powerful best and Scofield makes an absolutely, cold-hearted and sadistic Nazi. "The Train" is rousing entertainment with great thrills, character development, and even technical workings and intellectual stimulation to match the usual (and excellent) genre techniques.