Tomorrow the latest summer blockbuster, Bullet Train, hits theaters. In its honor, this week’s binge looks at a few films built on a connection to trains! Films appear in chronological order.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
About: A classic from Alfred Hitchcock, features two strangers who each have a problem—they need someone in their life dead. As a means of solving the problem and avoiding suspicion, they agree to commit each other’s murder. As you might suspect, it doesn’t quite work out as planned. This is a classic and should be seen, as all Hitchcock films should be.
Throw Momma From the Train (1987)
About: This black comedy which was directed by Danny DeVito and stars him and Billy Crystal is a send up of Strangers on a Train. In this case a fledgling writer (DeVito) tries to enter a murder-for-murder swap with his teacher (Crystal) to rid himself of his abrasive mother (Anne Ramsey). Again, things don’t go as planned. This is a bit of a lighter film in that it’s got a comedic tone and ending. A 1980s classic.
The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
About: This re-make comes from director Tony Scott and certainly provides some good action. John Travolta plays and ex-con who seizes a commuter train and holds the city of New York hostage. Denzel Washington is the unlucky MTA agent who happens to be at the mic when it all goes down, getting drawn into the plot and having to face his own demons. The action is strong here and Travolta is good as the bad guy. It’s a decent action flick.
About: Chris Evans leads the cast in a Bong Joon-Ho film about the remnants of society living on a train that continuously circles the globe. Here, class warfare still rules the day. The film includes Ed Harris and Tilda Swinton in the cast. Some loved it, and that spawned a TNT series. I thought it was a neat idea but just an OK film.
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
About: This Agatha Christie novel has been adapted before, but I’m choosing to focus on the newest version from director and star Kenneth Branagh. Some didn’t love this adaptation, but I like Branagh as Hercule Poirot and I thought this moved at a decent pace. It’s a fun murder mystery with an all-star cast. It’s a perfect light watch that will make you nostalgic to take a train trip… or it did for me anyway. Perhaps I’m strange.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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