Cohen Media Group has re-released the Hitchcockian thriller to home video
Following his roles as the “Prince Charming” to Drew Barrymore’s Cinderella in Ever After, and a villainous turn going mano a mano with Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 2, Scottish actor Dougray Scott had caught my attention in a big way, and seemed poised to become a dominant force in Hollywood.
Sadly, that hope never materialized, and those two films would remain his most recognized major roles. He’s been acting steadily, but on a smaller scale, mixing up starring and supporting roles in independent and DTV movies. I’ve always wished to see him in more of a “big screen” presence, as he’s got a great deal of both intensity and charisma.
The 2012 British film Last Passenger is one of the better films to make use of his talent. Scott stars as a Dr. Lewis Shaler, a middle-aged widower taking an evening train ride with his young son. What starts as a relatively normal commute takes several turns.
On the plus side, he meets and makes a connection with a pretty passenger (Kara Tointon), but their gentle flirtation has to take a back seat. Compoundingly odd incidents occur as the train approaches the end of the line and most of its occupants have deboarded. A vague sense that something’s wrong becomes impossible to ignore when the train mysteriously misses several stops and hurtles forward with increasing speed.
Startled, Shaler rallies the few of remaining passengers (Iddo Goldberg, David Schofield, and Lindsay Duncan) to try to stop the train or communicate with the driver, with growing concern at each new turn as the mystery deepens.
The poster/cover art makes it look like an action movie, and to be fair the last act has some action-heavy heroics. But this tale of strangers on a train has much more in common with Alfred Hitchcock than Under Siege 2. Something of a slow-burn thriller, Last Passenger has a distinct nocturnal vibe that resonated with me. Gnawing paranoia eventually gives way to more active concern. A handful of weary, isolated, squabbling passengers — a couple of them initially pretty argumentative and unpleasant — must band together to try to wrest control of the speeding train before it meets a fiery end.
There’s no narrative omnipotence to this telling, and I think that’s probably the film’s key trait. We’re simply thrust into this situation with the characters, taking in everything directly through their experience with no knowledge of the situation beyond what our characters know. It’s an empathic experience for the audience to participate in, though anyone looking for clear answers and explanations may find themselves frustrated by the film’s refusal to provide them.
Cohen Media (Kino Lorber) originally released Last Passenger on Blu-ray in 2014. For this reissue, Cohen used their recognizable red-framed design motif. I don’t have the prior disc for comparison and don’t know if there’s any material change, but it is clear that this is a newly authored disc: the trailers and advertisements feature contemporary films. The special features appear to be identical to the 2014 release.
Special Features and Extras
- B Roll (5:57)- behind the scenes footage shows a glimpse of how the film was shot. There’s no narration but it’s still a pretty compelling watch.
- Featurettes — these brief featurettes each feature an “arriving soon” bumper which suggests they were originally made as EPK style previews or webisodes.
— “Last Passenger” (3:20) — Features brief cast interviews and shows some behind the scenes footage of some key shots
— Set Design (4:12) — Production Designer Jon Bunker describes how the film was shot (very convincingly) using an elaborate train set on a stage.
— Sound Design (2:21) — Sound Design Editor Eilam Hoffman describes his process for creating the train’s soundscape, including some surprisingly unorthodox sources
— Visual Effects (3:07) — VFX Supervisor Tim Smit describes how CG is used in the film to augment and provide gritty smoke and particle effects as well as provide larger digital exterior shots. Includes breakdowns and comparative shots.
- Sound Bites (32:09) — A half hour of cast and crew interviews, including director Omid Nooshi and several key folks who aren’t in the other featurettes.
- Trailer (1:52)
- Promotional Trailers & Ads (5:50) — Trailers for Apples, Let it Be Morning, Year of the Jellyfish, and Symphony for a Massacre. The disc also has an ad for the Cohen Media Channel (1:12)
Get it at Amazon: If you enjoy reading Cinapse, purchasing items through our affiliate links can tip us with a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system.