As a fan of one location thrillers, I hoped Last Passenger’s train setting could create some serious claustrophobic tension. I was wrong. Instead we get so-so British film that begins slowly before picking up some momentum in the middle act. However, much like the train in the film, Last Passenger begins to come off the rails towards its climax.
The reason Last Passenger doesn’t work is because the plot is just too slight for its 90 minute running time. It’s ludicrously simple; a group of passengers attempt to stop a train which is hurtling towards its final destination with a suicidal driver at the helm. That’s it. No more, no less. Some films work with such a simple concept, but the script for Last Passenger doesn’t have enough originality. We really only get to know two characters, a single-parent doctor (Dougray Scott) and a lonely PR woman( Kara Tointon) who attempts to befriend him. Everyone else is roughly sketched, although they have the occasional moment to shine in the more interesting mid-section.
Dougray Scott will forever be the man who was almost Wolverine (shooting on Mission: Impossible II over ran and Scott lost the role to Hugh Jackman) and Last Passenger almost cruises along on his charm. However, the Scot isn’t given enough to work with, he’s supposed to be the everyman who is out of his depth, but he isn’t given much of a character arc. Meanwhile, plot and proceedings are scuppered by a serious lack of logic. Events take place, things happen and seconds later they’re totally forgotten, or have little or no significance to what is happening within the thread of the film’s reality.
The word Hitchcockian is often bandied about in relation to tightly constructed thrillers and Last Passenger aims for that type of comparison – it’s a shame that it quite achieve those heights. It’s more coach than first class.