It’s 4:36 pm
So I get a call from Lindsay,my favorite clerk at both my Family Video stores. Yep,I said “both”,she works at both stores I do my media hunting at. Because I hadn’t heard about the last sale they were doing,I missed out on some good deals. Lindsay said that when they refilled the stock from the last sale,she would call me first so I could get first crack and true to her word,she did.
So last Thursday she called and I trotted on over to see what gems I could uncover and while I found many,the cheetah and I decided to start with “Night Train” a movie most of us probably have never heard of. So why did I pick up “Night Train” in the first place….
The film opens on Christmas’s Eve in a heavy snow storm. At a train station we meet the main players in our story..senior conductor Miles (Danny Glover) and his young assistant Frankie,who looks up to Miles. The two are making small talk while waiting for any last minute passengers.
Inside the train we meet Pete (Steve Zahn) a struggling salesman who has the beginnings of a drinking problem. Medical student Chloe (Leelee Sobieski) hears Pete’s little liquor bottles but says nothing.
Right before the train starts to leave,a man runs up holding a small bag,he wants on the train but is out breath to explain he wants a ticket,Miles says he can get on and pay him a little later. The nods then proceeds to swallow a bunch of pills before finding a seat in Pete and Chloe’s car.
Pete makes small talk with the stranger and even offers him one of his mini vodka which the man takes gratefully. He then swallows a few more pills before going to sleep.
Miles walks back through the train where we see two Japanese businessmen playing “Go” and a elderly woman with her Pekingnese puppy.
When Miles goes to get the money from the man,he is shocked to discover him dead in his seat. Pete says he only gave him a shot of vodka but Chloe knows he overdosed on seconal. Mile proceeds to take the small package from the man who had seemed very protective of it while at the station.
Miles looks inside and his eyes widened large in amazement,then Pete and finally Chloe. Right away Pete and Chloe start planning to split the treasure in the box while Miles has a firmer grip and demands the box as he is going to keep it safe while calling the authorities at the next stop. Pete and Chloe attempt to talk Miles out of that.
The three go back and forth on what to do when Miles’s suggest putting the body in a trunk and tossing it over at a bridge crossing.
The three have to get the body through the train,Pete runs interference with the two Japanese businessmen while Miles has to park the body and make small talk with Mrs. Froy,the lady with the dog.
When three finally make it to the back,they discover the trunk is too small and that their plans for wealth are slipping away. But when Chloe shows the other two exactly what she has learned in medical school,the die is cast and before the night over,this mysterious box will find itself in the most unlikely hands. How and who it goes through is the real puzzler and with a train moving at well over 80 mph….
I picked up “Night Train” as a blind buy for two reasons….I have never seen Steve Zahn in a serious thriller/mystery film before,he is known more for buddy movies and action-adventure like “Sahara” in 2005. Since “Night Train” came out Zahn has done many more dramatic roles but this is my first time seeing this side of him.
Danny Glover,whom we last saw in “The Shift”, is really good as Miles. This is the Glover that most fans remember,very strong and not afraid of anyone’s shady nature.
He is the only one who not only knows what the box is doing but also willing to do to protect people,even if its from their own dark natures.
But I picked this up because of Leelee Sobieski whom I hadn’t seen in anything in YEARS.
I saw her when she played “Joan of Arc” in a TV mini-series as well as the horror favorite “Joy Ride” and the very interesting “The Glass House”. Her star was set to explode but then it just ……didn’t.
She did a couple of TV series and pretty much retired from acting in 2013 after having two children. Her Chloe just steals this movie,what appears as a meek and mild medical student is so much much then that,her repressed nature is the one the box exposes in the worst way, What really is absolutely chilling is how Chloe’s voice never rises at all. It will put you on edge actually because it’s so unsettling. She is the best reason to watch “Night Train”. While the train is completely CGI,the crew built 8 train cars for filming and they did a good job of depicting a small train line in decline.
There are a couple of nifty surprises that we’ll keep mum on as a HUGE fanboy name pops up most shockingly and plays a key role.
Because this has a “Outer Limits” or “Twilight Zone” feel to it,its best to sit back and just let the Night Train take you wherever it wants. Writer and director M. Brian King has delivered a fine movie here and went to write “Haunter” which IFC Midnight released in 2013. As of this review,”Night Train” is the only film he has directed and that is a real shame.
“Night Train” is rated “R” and a run time of 91 minutes. There are over 50 minutes of special features including interviews with cast and crew.
The cheetah and I really enjoyed this quite a bit and we gave it two thumbs/4 paws straight up.
Have you had a favorite actor/actress/director just suddenly drop of sight?
If so…..who were they and what were they best know for? Leave a comment below!