The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)
  • Time: 106 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller
  • Director: Tony Scott
  • Cast: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Luis Guzmán


In early afternoon, four armed men hijack a subway train in Manhattan. They stop on a slight incline, decoupling the first car to let the rest of the train coast back. Their leader is Ryder; he connects by phone with Walter Garber, the dispatcher watching that line. Garber is a supervisor temporarily demoted while being investigated for bribery. Ryder demands $10 million within an hour, or he’ll start shooting hostages. He’ll deal only with Garber. The mayor okays the payoff, the news of the hostage situation sends the stock market tumbling, and it’s unclear what Ryder really wants or if Garber is part of the deal. Will hostages, kidnappers, and negotiators live through this?

One comment

  • I’d never seen the original version of this, so thankfully I had nothing to compare it to, which seems to be bringing this film down.

    Easily the best thing about this film is the interaction between Washington and Travolta. Their performances are truly brilliant. Especially Travolta, who really creates some atmosphere of insanity with his instant, hugely effective switches between a calm conversation and threatening to blow someone’s brains out. However the film can be marked down in the acting category, aside from the two front-men (and in some cases the Mayor, who provided some comedic relief) the rest of the performances were less than memorable.

    The story is good, it’s impressive how the entire film is set in two locations and yet the pace is still high throughout and it never seems to drag or get boring. The sounds helped the pace of the film a lot too, with quick drum and bass songs accompanying a high speed car/bike scene and the everyday rumble of trains passing by elsewhere to really create the feel of how this is occurring in an everyday scenario.

    The dialogue is good, aside from the often pointless abundance of the ‘f’ word, and I think the characters are believable and are developed well, especially in Washington’s case. One small problem that cost the film half a star for me was a very over the top shootout that occurs in the film, if you watch it you’ll know what I mean, it just derailed the reality of the film for me slightly.

    Overall though, a good thriller that should please most viewers, that’s presuming you haven’t seen the original, apparently.

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