A lot or a little?
Parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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?
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