We watched an outstanding movie entitled “The 5:17 to Paris.” You might recall the three young Americans who thwarted a terrorist massacre on a train in France. This is their story and even includes the actual men portraying themselves. Movies based on true events seem to be those we enjoy most – the saying, “truth is stranger than fiction”, proves true. Amazingly, this story includes much more than the action, suspense, and heroism you would expect. In the real world people like you and I have imperfections and failings that cause us to be unfit for Hollywood, but Clint Eastwood, who made
the movie, left these characteristics in so that God’s providence is revealed (whether intended or not). In fact these guys are believers, and although it does not develop the extent of their faith, it tells enough to explain rationally how this works together and acknowledges a faith in unseen forces that motivate and direct our decisions.
There are Christian film production companies today that are producing some excellent movies which are evangelical, inspiring and entertaining, but this is not one of them. There is no evangelical message and except for the inclusion of a bedtime prayer there is little reference to Christian faith.
The prayer is Saint Francis’ prayer:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
This movie was antithetical to the Hollywood model and some may, therefore, find it deficient. For example, if you must have a star and hero that dazzles you with appearance, wit, and appeal, you better stick to the world of fiction where Spiderman and Batman deliver justice. However, if you can see a story within a story that recounts endurance, kindness, virtue, friendship, perseverance, faithfulness and the pilgrimage that is every person’s life and destiny, you may find inspiration in this film.