Almost everyone probably has a list of his or her favorite all time movies. Movies that are so good, that no matter how many times you watch them, they still grip you by the throat each time that you see them. Runaway Train is one of those movies that appears in my list of favorite movies of all time. I think that I have lost count the number of times that I have now watched this fantastic movie.
The movie starts in the Stonehaven prison in Alaska. A convict that has been found so dangerous that the sadistic warden of the prison has welded his celldoors shut for three years, is finally let out of his cell,(but not out of prison) after his appeal comes through. The criminal known as “Manny” Manheim immediately begins to plan his escape. Another criminal, who is convicted of statutory rape, called Buck decides to help Manny escape and eventually joins him in his struggle for freedom. Both men end up in the icy cold Alaskan wilderness, and begin a cold trek to a train station. When they arrive at their destination, they board a train to take them further from the prison. Thinking they are finally safe, the men begin to relax. However, unbeknownst to them, the driver of the train has suffered a heart attack, and the train is slowly beginning to pick up speed. Meanwhile the warden of the prison, the cruel man known as Ranken, sets off in pursuit of the two escaped men. Out of control the train thunders on, with an ever increasingly chance of certain disaster…
This movie is an underrated masterpiece. There are so many things in this movie that are just absolutely incredible, it is hard to name everything. The performances in this movie are fantastic, and both Jon Voight (playing Manny) and Eric Roberts (playing Buck) got an Oscar nomination for their roles. Voight plays one of the best roles of his career as the tough and brutal criminal Manny, who is hellbent on gaining his freedom. The cinematography is also stunning, as the icy cold Alaskan landscape brings forth an ever present sense of doom. And that brings me to the music of Trevor Jones, who composed a score that is in equal parts sad and beautiful, and which also plays a very important part in setting the tone of this movie. Even though this movie is now 31 years old, it is not outdated in any way. I can go on about this gem for hours, but i am not going to do that. All I can say is if you have a chance to see this movie, than grab it. You are definitely in for one hell of a ride, and one that will stick with you for a very long time.
I give this movie a 10 out of 10 score.