The Last Passenger

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Last Passenger Movie Poster Image
Taut train thriller's main issue is strong language.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 97 minutes

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Ordinary people can rise to the occasion when necessary, and even people who don't get along under ordinary circumstances can learn to work together.

Positive role models & representations

Lewis, a widower father, cares deeply for his young son and must face grave danger to save the boy from potential tragedy.

Violence

The film follows six characters in grave danger aboard an out-of-control train -- and their increasingly desperate attempts to stop it. Some of these efforts are extremely dangerous, and some of the characters are injured in the attempt, or worse. As they get more and more anxious, they take out their frustration on each other and in futile attempts to reach the train's control room.

Sex

Two people flirt and at one point exchange a brief kiss.

Language

Not constant, but characters do use "f--k" several times.

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

The characters all share a drink at a difficult moment. Some of them also smoke cigarettes at times.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Last Passenger is a taut thriller that centers on the final six people on a commuter train that's been taken over by a madman who refuses to stop, speeding mindlessly across the countryside headed for a terrible ultimate destination. A few scenes feature the characters in harrowing, extremely dangerous situations as they try to halt the train; some are injured -- and worse -- but there are fewer explosions than the standard Hollywood shoot-'em-up blockbuster. There's some flirting, kissing, drinking, and smoking, but language (mostly variations on "f--k") is the main reason for the film's R rating.

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What's the story?

Returning home on an evening commuter train, single dad Lewis (Dougray Scott) and his young son are dismayed when it speeds right through their station. Then it goes through the next one, too, and the handful of remaining passengers gradually realizes that the train has been hijacked. Lewis and the other riders must find a way to stop it before the madman at the controls reaches his mysterious final destination.

Is it any good?

It's a simple story, told efficiently and effectively, and it has more drama than many blockbusters with far more noise and characters. THE LAST PASSENGER is much smaller scale than many movies, with a cast of six people stuck in a confined space. (It's so compact it could practically be a play.) But the limited set-up pays off. Director Omid Nooshin cranks up the tension as Lewis and the other riders try many ways to stop the train. Each attempt is more dangerous than the last, and none of them seem to work.

The movie's main flaw is also one of the reasons that the story starts off so effectively. The passengers are mystified by the hijacker's motivation, and so are the viewers. That creates mystery at the beginning of the film, but by the conclusion, it feels more like a major question left unaddressed. And though Scott is excellent, some of his fellow cast members aren't quite up to his sparring level. Still, the film is spare and smart and worth a watch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes The Last Passenger suspenseful. What part of the outcome is in doubt? How does the film keep tension high? Which is harder to watch -- this kind of thriller or a gorier horror movie? Why?

  • Talk about the impact of the violence in this kind of movie. Does it seem realistic/believable? Does that make it more intense?

  • Why did the villain take over the train? What's his goal? What do you think of the way the filmmakers chose to answer these questions?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love thrills

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