Facets Cinémathèque

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December 30, 2015–January 5, 2016

Chicago Premiere

Off the Rails

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Film still: Off the Rails Film still: Off the Rails


Grand Jury Prize
Critics' Pick "Assured and thoughtful"
  —New York Times
"[Off the Rails] provides us with a window into the psyche of a person worth caring about"
  —Christian Science Monitor
  —Chicago Tribune
"With justice to fight for this could be an angry documentary but instead it's a gentle one"

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. As a boy in Queens, Darius found sanctuary from school bullies in the subway, where he befriended transit workers, who taught him to drive trains. By age 8, he had memorized the entire subway system and at 15, he drove a packed train six 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 even attended transit-worker union meetings, lobbying for better pay and working conditions for a union to which he did not belong.

Although Darius has never damaged any property or hurt anyone in his decades of service, he has spent 23 years in maximum-security prison, leaving behind a broken marriage and an adoring mother. His repeated incarcerations highlight flaws in a justice system ill-equipped to handle individuals like Darius who was only rewarded with solitary confinement, as his eventual release forced him back to the only thing he knows, in this fascinating, frustrating and heart-breaking documentary.

Directed by Adam Irving, 2016, U. S.A., 89 mins.


  • Fri., Dec. 30 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Dec. 31 at 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Jan. 1 at 1, 3, 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Jan. 2–5 at 7 & 9 pm
Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation