After human error sends a 39-car freight train, unmanned and loaded with toxic chemicals, racing through southern Pennsylvania, a couple of working stiffs—longtime train engineer Denzel Washington and new political hire Chris Pine—valiantly set off in hot pursuit. This hard-charging action thriller is based on a 2001 incident that took place in Ohio, and the story gives action director Tony Scott (Domino, Man on Fire, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) a chance to show his stuff without endless bullets and blood; in fact the only shots fired in the entire movie are from marksmen trying to hit a trip switch on the passing train. Screenwriter Mark Bomback doesn’t do much with the backstory scenes linking Pine and Washington to their worried families, but the main story is gripping, flawlessly paced, and nicely grounded in operational detail. With Rosario Dawson.
PG-13 • 1 hour 38 min • 2010