Last Train To Christmas – The DVDfever Review – Sky Cinema – Michael Sheen

Last Train To Christmas Last Train To Christmas is set entirely on a train, and begins on Christmas Eve, 1985, with the film’s opening 16:9 aspect ratio neatly changing back to 4:3.

After embarking on the vehicle in question, Tony Towers (Michael Sheen) – With his Peter Stringfellow-style haircut, that’s clearly on whom the character is based – is engaged to Sue (Nathalie Emmanuel) and hoping for a great life together.

He also makes reference to his radio playing the cassette version of Now Music 5. I had to look up the timeline of the series (since I remember buying certain editions), Now 5 was released on August 5th 1985, with Now 6 out on November 25th, so technically, he could’ve played that one. Then again, we can hear the song Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin’ Stevens, which wasn’t actually released as a single until November 25th 1985, so it wouldn’t have been on either compilation. A quick check online shows it wasn’t on either of the 1986 releases, either.

Soon after, we see Tony looking older and rather worse for wear, and with a Now 32 CD. That would put that scene in November 1995. Given that he’s clearly time-jumping back and forth by ten years, the latter (undated) scenes must also be on Christmas Eve, and without it being spelled out, I presume it was intended to be December 24th during each time jump.

So, this film feels similar to It’s A Wonderful Life where he can see the present (1985) and the future (1995). Since his life has gone off the rails in the intervening years, can he rescue things?

I like Time Travel-based movies and series, so that concept really works for me; and then other timezones also come into play, and as he gets thrown into various ones at random, it’s like a movie version of Quantum Leap with several timelines happening in one production, as Tony’s life goes through severe ups and downs.

But every time we revisit each individual time period, the story has moved on further. However, is there a way to go back and resolve some situations?

Last Train To Christmas does go on a bit too long, and rather bombards you with more timelines than a Marvel movie, but it’s certainly a must-see, and Michael Sheen is brilliant throughout.

A few asides:

  • At one point, in the ’80s, the phone number 01 811 8055 is dialled. I instantly knew that as the number for Noel Edmonds’ Swap Shop.

  • Depending on the time period, the aspect ratio changes between 4:3, 1.85:1, 16:9, and it even goes into 2.39:1 at one point, as we go back even further in time.

  • There’s even Whispering Grass heard in one scene – sung by Windsor Davies and Don Estelle, which feels bizarre, but is quite wonderful.

There’s also an end credits moment. I’ll put it behind a spoiler header, although it’s not an actual spoiler for this film. You may just want to catch it yourself without knowing in advance.

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Last Train To Christmas is on Sky Cinema and NOW TV from Friday December 18th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

Last Train To Christmas – Official Trailer – Sky Cinema

Windsor Davies and Don Estelle – Whispering Grass – Top of the Pops 1975

Detailed specs:

Running time: 111 minutes
Release date: December 18th 2021
Studio: Sky Cinema
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1, 1.33:1, 1.85:1, 1.78:1
Rating: 8.5/10

Director: Julian Kemp
Producers: Matthew James Wilkinson, Matt Williams
Screenplay: Julian Kemp
Music: Anne Nikitin

Tony Towers: Michael Sheen
Roger Towers: Cary Elwes
Sue Taylor: Nathalie Emmanuel
Paula: Katherine Kelly
Auntie Vi: Phyllis Logan
Vic: John Thomson
Morris: Danny Ashok
Astrid: Anna Lundberg
Linda: Mia McKenna-Bruce
Jenny (23) / Jenny (43): Sophie Simnett
Tristan: Robin Askwith
Mum (85): Hayley Mills
Mum/Celia: Sianad Gregory
Dad/Arthur: Edward Harrison
Tony (25): Thomas Law
Tony (5): George Cobell
Tony (15): Harry Giubileo
Roger (20): Jack Christou
Auntie Vi (15): Holly Earl
Dad (87): David Shaw-Parker
Pam: Laura Evelyn
Nick: George Hannigan
Pattie: Sarah Ball
Roger (10): Vaughn Challoner
Jenny (3): Isla Whitcombe
Jan: Ebony Aboagye
T-Mac: Lewes Barnett
Sean (10): Samuel Logan
Cleo: Anna Bolton
Manda: Charlotte-Hannah Jones
Soldier: Dominic Sibanda
Valerie: Natalie Mitson
Rita: Robyn Ellan Ashwood
Trace: Camille Burnett
Wetherby: Dave Chapman
Webster: Bob Golding
Julie: Claire Cage
Guard 1955: Paul Slack
David (15): Samuel Blake
Mr Pastry: Richard Tate
Teenager: Kirsten Udall
Uptight passenger: Philippa Cole
Bernard: Tom Hayes
Fiona: Emily Adair
Cheryl: Lily Adair
Grump: Jon Bard
Young Wife 1945: Charlotte Brown
Guard 1945: Stephen Bent
Mrs Taylor: Sarah Galvin
Baby Roger: Alexander Spence-Warren
Book Boy: Kaden Kemp
Sushi Boy: Silas Kemp