Night Train DVD Review

With plane hijackings currently dominating collective consciousness dread, it’s somewhat strange that trains as the phobia of choice are advancing full speed ahead in movies right now. On the heels of The Taking of Pelham 123 is Night Train, an eerie noir commute with politically charged baggage on board as well.

Written and directed by Brian King and filmed in nocturnal Bulgaria on board a vintage passenger line that could easily upstage the most sinister film set on wheels, Night Train stars Danny Glover as a conscientious conductor warding off with great difficulty the temptation of greed, while facing mounting medical bills for his ailing wife.

The seductive object in question, a sealed box with peepholes that teases with a possible treasure trove of jewels within, is left behind by a recently departed nervous wreck mysterious stranger, injesting a lethal amount of pills just before his demise on board.

Among those likewise butting in for a cut of the discovered stash, is Leelee Sobieski as a supremely creepy frumpy med student bookworm turned vamp maniac. And Steve Zahn as a drunken salesman who believes he’s just caught an eyeful of more than the usual pink elephants.

Overhauling in myriad ways the more than familiar noir genre, the film is visually haunting as both the train and ghoulish narrative weirdly accelerate into effectively surreal territory. Enhancing the chill factor as well, is a heady allegory conjuring a fatally flawed human race so easily corrupted by selfish obsessions, and both literally and figuratively taking the damaged planet with them as it hurls uncontrollably into darkness and potential oblivion.

National Entertainment Media

Rated R

3 stars

DV Features: Interviews with Cast and Crew; Featurette: The Making Of Night Train; Photo Gallery; Trailer.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.