12 June 2009

The Taking of Pelham 123

Directed by: Tony Scott
Written by: Brian Helgeland
Full credits from IMDb

It’s always vexing when a gritty classic gets a thoughtless Hollywood reboot, and this Taking of Pelham is a classic example: the 1974 original was a hilarious snapshot of NYC in economic crisis; the latest is a lame, clueless portrait of the contemporary city...but there is at least one detail that separates this remake from its forebear that feels (somewhat) right. In Joseph Sargent’s original, no one takes the hijackers seriously; the passengers laugh when they threaten to kill them (a wino remains passed out during much of the commotion, and several passengers need the threats translated into Spanish.) A crusty supervisor asks, “What do [the passengers] expect for their thirty five cents? To live forever?” But everyone in this exhaustingly straight-faced film takes the hijackers seriously from the beginning—because this is the humorless NY of today, post-9/11.

Keep reading my discussion with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

Watch the trailer:

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