Happy Thursday! This week on Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks, it's Train Movies. Cool topic! Hard to narrow down.
I can only think of maybe two movies (that I've seen) that are set entirely on trains. I have seen plenty of movies with scenes on trains.
I think I'm more intrigued by the image of the train, and its vitality to the history of cinema proper. I mean, the very first movie that people talk about is The Lumiere Brothers 1894, one-minute extravaganza aptly titled, Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat.
It's as if every movie featuring a train can be tied to this one little film at the dawn of the motion picture camera. Movie cameras shooting trains, man. That's what it's all about. My picks today are all about my favorite train moments.
Here are my picks:
My first two picks I saw on the same November evening in 2007. Both feature trains prominently. Both, in fact, open with trains (see clips). One departing, one arriving. Both films were on my list of the best films of 2007.
The Darjeeling Limited
Dir. Wes Anderson, 2007
The opening sequence of Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited is one of my favorites from all of his films. Bill Murray as Business Man races Peter Whitman (Adrien Brody) to an already departed train. Kinks on the soundtrack. Slo-mo. Cool.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Dir. Andrew Dominik, 2007
To this day, I have never seen a more beautifully shot film. It all starts with the awesomeness of the Blue Cut Train Robbery orchestrated by the James Gang in the late 1880s. Roger Deakins' work here is the stuff of legend. His work with director Andrew Dominik in crafting this scene is just so far above anything I've ever seen on film. And I am so grateful to have gotten to see this masterpiece of a box office disaster on the big screen.
Dir. J.J. Abrams, 2011
The train wreck sequence in J.J. Abrams' homage to Spielberg (which Spielberg co-produced) is in itself the reason we go to the movies. It is one of the most magically cinematic scenes, for me, in recent years. It's a movie about kids who make movies, and it happens to gain most of its momentum, as far as plot is concerned, from this one moment.