Andrea’s film review – Bullet train

Bullet train ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Five assassins aboard a fast moving bullet train find out their missions have something in common. Out in cinemas now.

Based on a popular Japanese pulpy novel by Kōtarō Isaka, this over-the-top, Taratinesque (Minus the sparkling dialogue), rather elaborate and pretty ridiculous action flick takes place all inside a Japanese, neon-lit, high-speed train on which various criminals, somehow all connected to the same Russian boss, seem to have converged on a hunt for a briefcase full of money.

A very simple premise which the film seems to take way too seriously it as gets more and more tied up in knots with a series of convoluted plot twists, flashbacks, and various narrative digressions and side stories which pack the film (and the poster by the look of it). So many, in fact, that they risk sucking all the fun out the film.

Given that it’s all about speed, I found surprising how much time it spent trying to explain the convoluted plotlines, most of which passed me by anyway.

In fact, to be honest, by the end of the film, I really could not care less about who did what to whom. I think the best way to enjoy this candy-colourful farce is to embraces its messy, cartoony, absurd artificiality and go for the ride.

Which is exactly what Brad Pitt seems to be doing anyway. At 58 years, his charisma and screen presence is undeniable. And if Bullet Train doesn’t derail completely off its tracks, is because of him and the huge sense of fun which he seems to sprinkle throughout the film.

The whole thing is undeniably too long, but among famous A-list cameos, the ultra-violence, snappy editing, beautifully choreographed fight scenes (Director David Leitch used to be a stunt coordinator) and a “style-over-substance” approach to everything, there is definitely stuff to enjoy… if you like that sort of thing.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I laughed and smiled quite a lot throughout (though I did look at my watch too)…

A hilarious sequence towards the end in which Pitt is seen flying unscathed through the train wreckage, in slow-motion, is unintentionally the perfect representation and metaphor for “bullet train” as a film: a bit of a train wreck through which somehow Pitt survives intact.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Bullet Train is out in cinemas right now.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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