26th Jan2014

‘Last Passenger’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Dougray Scott, Kara Tointon, Iddo Goldberg, David Schofield, Joshua Kaynama, Lindsay Duncan | Written by Omid Nooshin, Andy Love  | Directed by Omid Nooshin

Last-Passenger

What’s this? I’m reviewing a new British movie? Yes indeed, if you’ve been a long time reader of my work, you may have noticed a proclivity for me to review mainly American movies be it of the mainstream or independent variety. But every so often a British flick comes along that grabs my attention – usually they’re of the horror or thriller variety of course, and Last Passenger is no different.

The film tells the story of a small group of passengers on a late night train out of London. In the sleepy and abandoned carriages stop after stop are missed and Lewis (Dougray Scott), with five other remaining passengers, end up on a ride of a lifetime as the train hurtles relentlessly down the track. Hijacked by a vengeful sociopath who is hell-bent on crashing the speeding train, all six strangers must work together if any of them are going to survive…

As I stated in my intro, it’s not often a British film grabs my attention without some prompting from my fellow movie bloggers or a hefty PR campaign but, like Tower Block before it, the high-concept nature of Last Passenger peaked my interest, so much so that even I could put my prejudices aside (Kara Tointon I’m looking at you) and give the film a spin. In all honesty I’m VERY glad I did.

Part Hitchcock thriller, part Scott Brothers action flick (and I don’t use either of those references lightly), Last Passenger is the debut feature from director Omid Nooshin, a former art student from Guildford; co-written by the former narrator of Channel 4 reality series Coach Trip and filmed on old rolling stock found in a field in Wales – all of which don’t exactly bode well for ANY production, never mind a low-budget British film. Yet somehow it works. And works well.

Unlike a lot of its ilk, Last Passenger actually spends time on character development, taking its time to introduce the cast of passengers which, when it comes to the crunch, actually makes you feel more invested in the on screen action and the characters involved. Refreshingly the film also doesn’t waste time on excessive exposition and trying to explain the villains motivation – all you need to know is there’s a madman at the controls of the train and if the last passengers don’t do something they’ll all die. There’s no conspiracy, no characters with dual-identities, no characters working in cahoots with the madman intent on killing them all… Which may sound too straightforward a plot for today’s “sophisticated” film fan but is instead completely refreshing. It’s all a welcome return to basics.

Of the cast, Dougray Scott makes for a believeable leading man and has the right gravitas to be the hero, yet also brings a realistic vulnerability to his fatherly role. Meanwhile, in a surprising turn, former soap star turned reality show star Kara Tointon actually makes for an interesting love interest come damsel in distress. The rest of the cast is rounded out by the always excellent David Schofield (F), Lindsay Duncan (Merlin, Sherlock) and, in what is the breakout performance of the film, Israeli actor Iddo Goldberg (Peaky Blinders, Secret Diary of a Call Girl). All of whom shine thanks to the cracking script from Nooshin and Love.

Reminiscent of both Unstoppable and Runaway Train, Last Passenger is a shining light in the dross that is “British” film production and as such is definitely worth a purchase.

Last Passenger is released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 27th.

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