Last Passenger (2014)

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Last Passenger (2014)Starring Dougray Scott, Lindsay Duncan, David Schofield, Kara Tointon

Directed by Omid Nooshin

I never saw a thriller on a train I didn’t like – from Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express to Jamie Lee Curtis in Terror Train and Jean Rollin’s Les Raisins de la Mort, right up to Brad Anderson’s Transsiberian… and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Switchback, and Upstoppable… yes, I could go on!

Last Passenger is no exception. It’s a little tamer than a horror fan might hope in the murder and mayhem departments, but it’s quite the suspenseful nail-biter.

First of all, the cast is fantastic — Dougray Scott as a dashing and sometimes dastardly doctor, Kara Tointon as a newly-single flirt, David Schofield as a no-nonsense banker, Iddo Goldberg as a Russian ruffian, and Lindsay Duncan as a gentle grandmother.

This small group of Londoners are trapped on a late night train that’s speeding toward certain death without a conductor. What happened to him? Is he the body we caught a glimpse of in the beginning? Or is he a puppeteer pulling the strings? Why’d the ticket-taker get murdered, and how will the at-odds passengers band together and stop the train? As the lickety-split locomotive zips through stations and crossings, the body count rises, and the passengers’ panic turns to terror.

There are no brakes on the Hitchockian-heavy suspense, and the look of the film – in spite of numerous continuity errors – is stellar. The train cars feel claustrophobic; yet, they afford plenty of places for potential evildoers to hide and plot. DP Angus Hudson’s nighttime imagery is nicely complemented by the stirring score of Liam Bates.

First-time feature helmer Omid Nooshin makes the most of a minuscule budget, but there is no excuse – budgetary or otherwise – for the disappointing, off the rails ending of the film.

3 out of 5

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