Brad Pitt isn’t in need of a career resurgence, but it certainly feels like he’s in a new era of his craft with his Academy Award winning outing in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and now, Bullet Train.
Based on the Japanese novel Maria Beetle by Kōtarō Isaka, Bullet Train is a comedy about five assassins whose missions intersect on a high-speed train travelling from Tokyo to Kyoto. Ladybug (Brad Pitt) boards the train to retrieve a briefcase he’s meant to take off at the next stop, but every time he tries to leave, he’s met by nefarious folk with their own objectives.
Blending American and Japanese cinema styles with elements of the tone that director David Leitch brought to Deadpool 2 and John Wick, Bullet Train is energetic and violent but also funny and self-deprecating.
Ladybug is a recently enlightened assassin back from an apparent mental health break, intent on living conscientiously and putting peace into the world. He may have forgotten the kind of job he does, but death isn’t his aim – he just wants to do a good days work.
There’s little self-importance in the way Brad Pitt plays Ladybug, nailing the air of a pseudo guru who goes with the flow of the problems thrown his way, and, all the while making you think, “Brad Pitt is actually really good at comedy”.
The violence of Bullet Train is intense, it needs to be said, with overexaggerated visuals and action sequences common of its genre. However, the central aim of the movie seems to be to reflect on inner peace’s impact on external peace, and whether or not we’re slaves to “fate”.
If our heart is driven by chaos and anger, our lives will reflect that.
Taking from Eastern philosophy, Bullet Train touches on a quest that’s in fact universal: in the chaos of the world around us, how do we find calm, and use it to shape our lives?
The movie’s no guidebook, but it strikes on the truth the Bible tells us in Proverbs 23:7 that, “as a man thinks in his heart so he is”. If our heart is driven by chaos and anger, our lives will reflect that.
The level of violence and language in Bullet Train make it inaccessible to some audiences, but for those who’ll be drawn to the a-list cast and thrill of the ride, there’ll also be a smattering of meaningful commentary on fatherhood, identity, peace and purpose.
Bullet Train is rated MA15+ and in cinemas now.
Feature image: Bullet Train Facebook