Off the Rails


Off the Rails

Critics Consensus

Off the Rails sparks interest with its bizarre story, but its impact lingers thanks to its empathetic treatment of its subject -- and clear advocacy for a marginalized sector of society.



Total Count: 23


Audience Score

User Ratings: 146
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Movie Info

OFF THE RAILS tells the remarkable true story of Darius McCollum, a man with Asperger's syndrome whose overwhelming love of transit has landed him in jail 32 times for impersonating New York City bus drivers and subway conductors and driving their routes. As a boy in Queens, NY, Darius found sanctuary from school bullies in the subway. There he befriended transit workers who taught him to drive trains. By age 8, he memorized the entire subway system. At 15, he drove a packed train 8 stops by himself, making all the stops and announcements. Over the next three decades, Darius commandeered hundreds of trains and buses, staying en route and on schedule, without ever getting paid. He attended transit worker union meetings, lobbying for better pay and working conditions for a union he didn't belong to. Although Darius has never damaged any property or hurt anyone in his decades of service, he has spent 23 years in maximum security prison. Darius' recidivism embodies the criminal justice system's failure to channel the passions of a harmless, mentally challenged man into a productive career and purposeful life.

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Critic Reviews for Off the Rails

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (8)

  • If nothing else, Off the Rails, which includes a few too many reenactments for my taste, does what many good documentaries do. It provides us with a window into the psyche of a person worth caring about.

    Nov 18, 2016 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • An assured and thoughtful debut.

    Nov 17, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Watching this film stirs a mix of delight in the depth of McCollum's train fascination and pity for how neglected he's been by a system not built to recognize that the root of his crimes is not simply criminal impulse.

    Nov 16, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Though the film eventually grows as repetitious as its subject's habit, this odd tale has an undeniable bizarro human-interest fascination.

    Nov 11, 2016 | Full Review…

    Dennis Harvey

    Top Critic
  • Off The Rails uses interviews, animation and dramatic reconstructions to tell McCollum's strange story but these devices are never flashy or distracting.

    Nov 4, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • [An] excellent documentary ...

    Nov 3, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Off the Rails

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