(M) Fox DVD/BD

“Inspired by actual events”, this barrelling freight train of a movie has nothing if not a lot of forward momentum.

The good guys aren’t cops, soldiers or superheroes, just working-class Americans, veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and newbie conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine).

There are no guns or bombs, no kidnapped heroine or taunting bad guy — just thousands of tons of iron, fuel and combustible toxic chemicals speeding like a rocket through industrial Pennsylvania with the likelihood it could cause massive loss of life.

Obstacles include railroad crossings, hairpin turns and oncoming passenger trains.

While the veteran/rookie drama has been done to death, Unstoppable director Tony Scott gives the film a political, social and economic background that gives the film a fresh and interesting ring: when disgruntled workers make mistakes who takes the blame?

Reminiscent of Speed, and Runaway Train before it, there is a narrative simplicity about the plot that drives the film to its nail-biting conclusion while viewers hold their breath.

Adrian Drayton


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