If you've ever missed a scheduled ride on a plane, bus or train, for whatever reason ---suddenly you have time on your hands. In the case of the characters in "Train Station", most of whom are known only as "Person in Brown", those extra few hours or days can lead you down a path you never anticipated. Through the efforts of 40 directors and a vast array of writers, "Train Station" immediately evolves into a thriller, rife with surprises and sometimes shocking sequences.
The film's unique premise has a myriad of actors playing characters who are frequently involved in similar plotlines. When a "Person in Brown" makes a decision to do something, the film shifts to a new city, somewhere in the world, with a completely different cast. Occasionally the film revisits the same characters again, other times they are seen only once.
A man in brown espies a pink purse on the ground near him after a speeding car nearly runs him over. Seconds later, he hears an horrific crash as the car plows into a tree. The dazed driver, severely bleeding from a head wound, has a huge cache of cash in the back seat. ---Switch --- Another man in brown is bringing the money to a place that harvests human organs. We learn that the driver of the car was on his way to buy a kidney for his dying mother.
After learning his train is delayed, a man in brown returns home, grabs an apple and a knife to cut it. But he unexpectedly finds his wife having sex with another man. Does he use the knife to exact revenge on his unfaithful wife and her lover? --- Switch --- A woman in brown is holding a bloody knife and stuffing a body into a plastic bag.
"Train Station" is exceedingly well acted by everyone in the cast, in languages from all over the world. Twenty-five countries are represented, with cities ranging from New York to Athens, Bogota to Barcelona --- from L.A. and Chicago to Buenos Aires and Santiago. Each of the directors filmed their sequences separately, and through the miracle of internet technology, "Train Station" is born. It is the brain child of a company called CollabFeature, co-founded by Marty Shea and Ian Bonner. Their first feature film was entitled "The Owner" (2012), and it follows a backpack around the world in search of its owner.
The reality is that it's difficult to do "Train Station" justice by trying to describe it in a review like this. So my recommendation is to watch it for yourself, and partake in a totally unconventional cinematic experience. I was reminded of the Guy Pearce vehicle "Memento" (2000) --- not from the standpoint of a similar script --- but because both movies represent a hugely original concept in storytelling.
Purists or skeptics may object to the fact that because the characters change so rapidly the viewer never gets the opportunity to empathize with them. Yet somehow, even in the briefest snippets of a character's presence, we do.
"Train Station" is streaming now on Amazon Prime and Vimeo.
Opinion: See It Now!