suspense DVD and movie reviews and previews from - curled up with a good dvd
suspense DVD reviews and previews from - curled up with a good dvd
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Night Train - suspense DVD / thriller DVD / mystery DVD review
NIGHT TRAIN Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 2 stars
Actors: Danny Glover, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, Matthias Schweighoefer, Takatsuna Mukai
Director: Brian King   Studio: National Entertainment Media
DVD release: 07 July 2009   Runtime: 83 min.
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish), "Night Train: The Making Of," Cast/director/producer interviews, Photo gallery, Trailer

As Night Train, the current release from writer/director Brian King, opens, we find two tired travelers and an aging train conductor making a run during a winter snowstorm. Steve Zahn's character is a stereotypical down-on-his-luck salesman, and Leelee Sobieski plays a quiet medical student. Soon we are introduced to a third passenger.

Older and sickly, he boards the train seeming overly protective of a package in his possession. The man's only goal is to protect this mysterious parcel. When the veteran conductor (Danny Glover) tries to get the man's ticket, he discovers that the passenger is dead. He exits to report this to the next station, and the curiosity of the salesman and med student get the best of them. They track down the train conductor before he can call in the death and convince him to look at what the man was guarding. What they find is a small box that seems to mesmerize anyone who looks inside.

Zahn and Sobieski's characters have no problem plotting to dispose of the man and keep the treasure for themselves, and it takes them no time at all to convince the reluctant conductor to go against his moral compass and help them with their plans. As most such plans do, they quickly fragment, making everyone question the motives and loyalty of the others.

Greed and regret play an important role in the acts of the conspirators, and everyone pays some price by story's end.

I was surprised that this film did not receive a theatrical release in the U.S. - it boast a fair amount of star power - but I don't remember seeing any advertising for this DVD release. Night Train seems to have all the components needed for a great thriller, but the proportions aren't quite right.

Glover's performance is spot-on as always, and Zahn's salesman is so damn likable that you can't help but empathize with his plight. Sobieski's cold and calculating medical student keeps the movie on pace, and she seems to think she has the most to gain by their plot.

It's difficult to recommend this film. The average viewer will find the pacing too slow and the finale weak. Film students and those who really enjoy the medium may find something to discuss in this film as far as studying characters and their motivations.
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reviewed by Ryan Strampe
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