March 2008 - Turkey rating for this film

01 June 2013

I often look through reviews of new films and think the best thing about cinema is that you don’t have to go. This view has been reinforced at the news of the release next month of ‘Three And Out’. It claims to be a hilarious comedy. It’s about a driver whose train has run over two suicides.

I’m not normally accused of lacking a sense of humour, but I really can’t find anything amusing about people so distressed that they are driven to suicide.

And, having witnessed it myself, I know the life changing trauma that drivers can suffer when they have been involved in an incident like this: the self-examination, the undeserved but inevitable sense of guilt and the constant anxiety about another similar incident.

Is this really the best material for a film comedy that the industry can come up with?

The plot is almost equally depressing. The driver, it seems, is told about the ‘three and out’ rule. According to the publicity blurb, ‘If you have three fatal accidents within a month, you’re out of a job … but with a huge pay off.’ So the ‘hero’ sets out to find another suicide victim. If he finds one he will be given ‘enough cash to pay off his debts and retire to a Scottish idyll’.

Have you ever heard such nonsense? Clearly whoever wrote it knows nothing about train drivers and even less about their conditions. I’m mystified why writers choose subjects about which they’re entirely ignorant.

So, you may ask – does it matter? After all, it’s only a film – and I can’t imagine it’s going to make the Oscars. Before you have time to say ‘pile of old rubbish’ it will be out of the cinemas and into the DVD remainder boxes of rental shops.

But it does matter. It matters to me – and to the industry – that train drivers are respected for their work. If the vehicle you’re travelling in has a callous, self-seeking half-wit at the wheel, you’re going to look for another form of transport. And the notion that train drivers are unmoved at finding a corpse under the wheels of their trains, and that their first thought is, ‘How can I gain from this?’ is insulting and foolish.

How would these writers and producers react to a film that had a good laugh at a form of cancer they could pick up from keyboards? Or to a hilarious skit about acute spinal pain they can get for sitting too long at desks?

We’ll never know, of course. Because we are too aware of other workers’ concerns to consider mocking the most disturbing hazard they can face at work.

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