Bullet Train: Film Review

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

Rudrangsh Gupta

It is with impeccable style that Bullet Train hones itself -- it is many things at once, but as many things as the film may be, not any one of these things are entirely perfect, but that does not derail this super speed journey where everything travels at 320 kilometres per hour.

David Leitch’s much anticipated comedy sees several stories come together inside the sixteen compartments of a Bullet Train in Japan. As we are introduced to the characters through tacky freeze frames, which in itself are hilarious (especially as the film progresses), the film is set free like a toy that has been winded up fully. It exhuberates energy, excitement and laughter.

To break the monotony of a single location, there are cut scenes that reveal backstories of characters along with some good camera movement on multiple occasions. Additionally the fact that every wagon seems to be different than the other creates a dynamic feel that never for a moment results in a mundane setting. The colours in the film also strike and add to the visuals, resulting in an exciting visual odyssey.

Whenever the train approaches a station, the tension of the time period between the doors opening and closing is felt along with the exact precision of the entire transportation system in Japan. This creates a sense of drama and nervousness.

What truly anchors this film are the brilliant performances from the entire cast. With an ensemble cast featuring people ranging from Bad Bunny (its 2022 don’t judge the performance from the name) to Brad Pitt, most of the performances, along with the plot-twisty face reveals are memorable.

Brad Pitt is exactly the kind of hero you’d expect to see in a crime-comedy heist movie about an American in Tokyo (minus the racism)- he is ever so smooth with his dialogues, and his fists can pack quite the punch. While the plot isn’t necessarily refreshing or new, the execution is what prevents the film from being derailed. While Brad Pitt plays the character of a criminal trying to leave the world of crime and live in a simpler world where he does only simple tasks, he realises he cannot escape his past world no matter how hard he tries.

The performances from "the twins" (Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are terrific. The two share incredible amounts of chemistry as they refer to each other as Tangerine and Lemon, which in itself is hilarious. The metaphorical use ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ ideally shouldn’t have worked, but somehow, Aaron Taylor-Johnson just made it work. Both characters seem to be the ones that were most loved during the writing process and it really shows- both of them seem to be just incredibly fun characters you’d totally want to spend a day with. In a way they remind you of Thomson and Thompson, but at the same time they are original as ever.

Zoey King’s character was most certainly promising, but callously written to an extent where it felt like the character existed for very little reason by the time the film ended. Logan Lerman and Bad Bunny’s short ride in the train saw decent performances, and there are a few character reveals that seem to make this film hold up to the blockbuster reputation it has gathered.

There are lots of references and influences without a doubt, with subtle references to great directors. There also are several little details that decorate the film with an extra layer for the keener eye which are meta references to the actors’ or director’s previous works.

As the Bullet Train heads for Kyoto, an inevitable climax looms where sensibility diminishes as fun takes over the film’s steering wheels. By the end, audiences would be left in two minds: one where it felt like everything in the film was a tad bit empty and second, where they know that they've had a tumultuous amount of fun watching the film.

David Leitch’s Bullet Train is self indulgent in a way where it is exactly aware of what it is- a journey that ultimately leads you to nowhere, and in the process it reminds you, it isn’t the destination but the journey and the friends we make along the way.

About Author 

My name is Rudrangsh Gupta and I am a nineteen year old media student at Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication. I've been writing my thoughts on film and cinema for three years now. Below is my review for David Leitch's latest action-comedy, 'Bullet Train.'

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated 

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