A man (Larry Mullen Jr) arrives in a small town, planning to rob a bank, but he forms an unusual friendship with a college professor (Donald Sutherland) that has an impact on both their lives.
The Man on the Train is based on the 2002 French film. There was obviously something special that director Mary McGuckian saw in the original which caused her to remake it, but that je ne sais quoi is sadly lacking from this boring and frankly irritating film.
Larry Mullen Jr is best known as a quarter of mega successful Irish band; U2. He is not known as an actor, and there is a reason for that. Mullen Jr is monosyllabic and blank in the film. Instead of the character being mysterious and intriguing, he is just beige. There is no flicker of life behind the eyes, and no explanation of any of his motivations.
In contrast, Donald Sutherland yammers incessantly throughout the film, and it seems as though he was acting harder to make up for the cardboard cut out that is Larry Mullen Jr. Sutherland prances, dances and gambols through the film and, even though there is tragedy in the character, by the time it is revealed, the audience has lost all patience with the character.
It honestly seems as though McGuckian did not know what she wanted from her actors when she was making the film and she either micro managed every move they made or didn’t even bother to show up on set. Whatever the case, it was the wrong decision to make. The cinematography is nice though.
What is not nice is the soundtrack, created by, you guessed it, Larry Mullen Jr. We all know that U2 have this stadium filling sound based on a couple of guitar chords, and this is what makes up the soundtrack to The Man on the Train. Over and over again. There is such a thing as a musical ‘theme’ for a character, but these are laid on so heavy handed that after a while, it loses all meaning.
The Man on the Train is the remake that should never have happened. Larry Mullen Jr is about as interesting on screen as a coat rack and Sutherland makes up for it by turning in a human Tigger. Awful. Avoid.