The Oscar Project
We’re getting down to the top few films I’ve seen from this year, and it was getting harder and harder to pick where each one would land on this countdown. Today’s fourth film on the list has already been talked about in at least one other Year in Review post and I think I’ll be watching it again in the near future, especially since it’s available on Netflix right now.
#4 – Bullet Train
What can I say? This film was just a ton of fun. I don’t think I had more fun watching a movie this year than I did when I sat down to watch Bullet Train (affiliate link).
This is an action comedy in the truest sense of the words. There are plenty of memorable characters, even if some of them don’t last long in the story. You can tell just from the trailers that Brad Pitt is having tons of fun playing Ladybug, the lead assassin tasked with boarding the bullet train in Japan and retrieving a case from one of the luggage racks. Pitt gets to be funny at times, other times an action star, and all while playing someone who is trying to get back into the swing of his job after some time off for reasons we never quite understand. Who can’t relate to that?
The rest of the cast is wonderful, and I personally love the interplay between the “twins” Lemon (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Tangerine (Brian Tyree Henry). Their scenes are some of the funniest moments in the film. Joey King is stunning in the role of Prince, the icy young woman on the train whose motives we don’t quite understand until the end. I also enjoyed Hiroyuki Sanada as “The Elder” who is on the train protecting his son and grandson. His character emotes a quite confidence which stands in stark contrast to Ladybug’s frantic energy.
On the surface, there isn’t much to this film and at the beginning, it can seem a bit chaotic with so many characters and storylines to keep track of. However, I like how the chaos of the story stars as the train leaves the busy city of Tokyo, and becomes clearer as the train itself leads to a more open part of the country and the darkness of night leads to the sunrise. The harsh neon lights of the city and the interior of the train are replaced by natural sunlight and motives become clear with the stories all weaving together to lead to a connected conclusion.
Visually the film is fun to look at. Staging fight scenes in the close quarters of a train is probably very difficult, but the filmmakers accomplish it well. Ladybug gets to fight against most of the other characters, but my favorite fight is with Tangerine as they sit in “the quiet car” of the train. Putting limitations on creativity like having to keep quiet while conducting a fight is one of the things that puts this film near the top of my list for the year.
I didn’t get a chance to read the book that the film is based on (affiliate link) before watching it, but it’s near the top of my reading list for the new year. I may revisit the film after reading the book to see how they compare.
In the end, this film landed so high on my top ten this year simply because of how much fun it is. It’s full of action, humor, and surprisingly, even some touching story elements about family. I highly recommend this for anyone and of course, it’s readily available right now on Netflix.
The rest of the posts in this series are all linked below.
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?