Cinephile: Bullet Train

Plot: “Five assassins aboard a fast-moving bullet train find out their missions have something in common.” -IMDB 

Review: The plot of Bullet Train feels anchored in waters you will never fully understand. We know that the ropes stretching in every direction are pulling each character on screen to a similar place. These worlds will collide in violent spectacles, but the audience must uncover the reason for the bloodshed. Your love or hatred for this sort of lifting will more than likely determine your overall opinion of this movie.  

As you unwind the plot, pay particular attention to the movements, actions, and words of Ladybug (Brad Pitt). He serves as our window into this world. What he learns, we learn. What he experiences serves as our experience. In Ladybug, we meet a character on a path of self-discovery, desperately attempting to turn the page, and leave a violent past at the last station. Ladybug is a man trying to outrun his own bad luck. The hilarious cast of characters before him, confined in a hyperactive space, will make this damn near impossible. That he keeps trying provides a sense of levity that serves this movie well.  

For me, the real challenges of this film boil down to a couple of complaints. First, from beginning to end, you are hyper aware of the fact you are watching a movie. Nothing on the screen before you seems plausible. Alone, this is not enough to sink a film. I found the fantasy spoiled by the clunky story with revelations that never really feel worth the trouble. Repeatedly, while watching this movie, I thought there must be a reason for all the violence and bloodshed. When I ultimately discovered the reason, the turmoil did not feel worth the effort.  

In the end, this was an experience I found hilarious and awe-inspiring, but the payoff felt average. As the credits rolled, the complicated plot did not serve this film or the characters well. This is a shame, because with a little more work, this could have been a ride worth remembering.  

Be good to each other,  


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