Bullet Train; A Fast paced, Sadistic Thriller

By Kelly Bjornstad

Lead actor Brad Pitt puts on a charming performance while playing “Ladybug” A name meant to give him luck as he works to be the last one standing on a high-speed Japanese train.

Bullet Train, which hit theatres August 5th, takes a twist on old style murder mystery films as we follow multiple skilled killers take up orders in persuit of a silver briefcase. And, you can’t help but pick up on the constant dry humor that runs throughout the movie, which is mostly seen in Pitt’s (sometimes) swift undercover movement between cars. But not without some scraps and wrestles amongst the others on the train of course. Manohla Dargis from The New York Times elaborates on the humor explaining the movie as “…jokey, sometimes funny and predictably stupid.”

Joey King, Bryan Tyree Henry, and Aaron Taylor Johnson play clever assassins and are amongst Pitt’s many main opponents on the train. He gauges these interactions with his enemies all while listening to the wise words of Sandra Bullock who plays Maria Beetle- Ladybugs handler. Offering sly guidance, she’s in his ear consistently throughout the movie. We see Ladybug grapple with his spiritual journey and inner dialogue as he works to honor peace when faced with violence. Oftentimes making for a undeniably innocent, endearing performance. Even if it ends with an inconspicuous kill. 

The director of this movie is David Leitch, and writer Zac Okewicz. Bullet Train is based off of a 2010 novel called Maria Beetle by Kōtarō Isaka. And aside from the performances, Bullet Train has an overall pleasing presentation in itself. Audiences get to watch the plot unfold while looking at bright, highly saturated colors and city skylines as the train hurdles along. Each car has its own feel to it, some decorated in bright neon strip lights of blue and pink with Japanese pop culture references, complete with a colorful array of snacks and drinks rolling through the center aisle. Some illuminated in a dim yellow light. The “Quiet car.” So calm it’s comical to watch the crew make their way through the cabins, all the while trying to go unnoticed. 

The cast and crew of Bullet train did a fantastic job in making the 2010 novel Maria Beetle novel come to life. And until it’s out on any viewing platforms, you’ll have to go see it in theaters!

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