I recently won tickets to an advanced screening of ‘Unstoppable‘ – thanks 20th Century Fox NZ.

Basic story – an unmanned train on high power, heading into a residential area. How to stop it? Argh! It’s based on a true story.

Director: Tony Scott (Deja Vu, Man On Fire)
Stars: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson.

UnstoppableI would recommend this film to people who like watching action flicks. And anyone who wants to make a good action sequence. Seriously, the entire film seems like an action sequence. Even the slower, more intimate moments. The camera rarely stops moving. Perhaps its because I’ve been reading more on mise-en-scene, but I really noticed how Scott was constantly using crane, dolly, and helicopter moving shots; he almost always put things in the foreground of the shot – which creates more movement, and makes the trains/cars appear to be moving faster.

Plus, crash-zooms. Lots of them. Ah, zooms – something that has been lost from cinema since the 70s.

Actually, I didn’t read that Tony Scott directed the film before I saw it. Writing this review, and looking at Tony’s body of work, I think I need to look into more of what makes a Tony Scott film – there are definite similarities in ‘the look’ of his films. Give me some time to research…

[Ooh, I’ve found lots to read. I’ll put what I find in a different post. In the meantime…]

Rosario DawsonRosario Dawson’s character – the strongest female character in the film – is Connie, the yardmaster who knows her crew and the tracks, and will fight the bureaucrats to protect her guys. The character isn’t a love-interest – actually, there’s a suggestion at the end, but if you ignore that, she isn’t a love interest; being a love interest isn’t her main role. Her role is as a fully fleshed character. The character could have been male or female. For that I must commend Unstoppable for having a strong female character. I don’t know that she appears on the Female Character Flow-Chart ).

Ethan Suplee‘s character – Dewey – is the one who let the train get away. The man who got out of the carriage when he was told not to, and who was too fat to run and get back into the carriage. At the end a humourous jab was made at the expense of Dewey – ‘Dewey now works in fast food’. It got me thinking about the media or Hollywood ideal of fat = stupid. Ethan Suplee was the only large (overweight) character on-screen. All of the other lead characters were thin, good-looking people, matching the media ideal of what is considered “beautiful”. Ugh. Now, think about the roles that larger actors play. Quite often it’s the dumb role: the lovable oaf. Think about the roles that Ethan Suplee is most well known for having most played: Randy from My Name Is Earl; Elwood from Without A Paddle; Deke from Evolution; Seth from American History X; William from Mallrats

Ethan Suplee


Not the sharpest tools in the tool shed. It’s a stereotype that Hollywood needs to be bought up on. Think about it – how are large or obese people regularly portrayed in movies and on TV? Can you think of a large leading lovable character who isn’t there for comic relief? And who doesn’t go through a drastic make-over to make them thinner and better looking? Hmmm… further research must be made.


Published by phetheringtonnz

Film Producer, Director, Lecturer. From NZ based in London.

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