I’m reminded of an interview I once saw with Tom Hanks who for some reason was talking about his favorite Elvis movie called “Roustabout.” In his very Tom Hanks style he quoted both Elvis and Barbara Stanwick, first uttering like the guttural girl, “This is not a circus, it’s a carnival and don’t you forget it!” Then lifting the corner of his upper lip, “So a uh, a carnival has like a ferris wheel and a circus has, like elephants?” Well, I’d love to have seen this circus flick with Mr. Hanks, even though the actors would be less mimicable. Robert Pattinson, ironically called Jacob in this film, actually acts. He reacts as only a hero could – for the right despite the consequences. His performance reminded me of Keanu Reeves in his true chick flick A Walk in the Clouds. Not terribly dimensional, but likeable and kindred. Reese Witherspoon hasn’t aged. I read once that she insists on sleeping 10 to 12 hours per night, and that it’s her secret to success and happiness, and youth, and physical beauty. Nah. Really? Nah.
This is a movie movie, for entertainment alone. No hidden symbolism. Just straightforward plot moved by characters on a train who hate then love each other, who learn from one another, and who fight to survive despite the ringleader’s cruelty. Triumphs and tragedies, loyalties and love affairs, the inner ring of circus life.