‘Bullet train’ is not a good movie. But it is a great study of Brad Pitt.

Read enough recent glossy magazine articles about Brad Pitt and you’ll start to spot some patterns. He tends to speak reverently about growing up in the Ozarks and less about his life as a celebrity. He is as adept at pulling off-the-cuff pranks as he is at speaking solemnly about art”. It’s cool but artsy, even quoting Rumi and Rilke sometimes. he easily pose in thousand dollar suits, but says he always tries to avoid putting his face on a movie poster. The word sad a lot comes up about his smile or his demeanor. He is famous, but he is sensitive, a guy with a lot of capital.F Feelings about your job.

The same could be said for his latest action-comedy character. Bullet train. An assassin codenamed Ladybug, he is reluctant about what he does for a living and would rather be anywhere other than aboard the high-speed plane. shinkansen races across Japan. For one thing, he’s not the only passenger carrying out a life-threatening mission; for another, he has no place to meditate or enjoy his newfound Zen perspective on life. Directed by David Leitch (hobbs and shaw) and adapted from mary beetleKōtarō Isaka’s best-selling novel, Bullet train it’s stupid fun, all neon drenched style over substance. It’s the kind of late-summer movie that relies on goofiness, violence, and actors trying out questionable accents. The movie is a solid showcase for close-quarters combat until it turns into CGI-heavy duty. He assembles an overrated cast including Brian Tyree Henry, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Michael Shannon, and then loads them up with forgettable characters. But as a Brad Pitt vehicle (in more ways than one), Bullet train it’s a fascinating branding exercise.

Pitt’s career can be divided into phases, and Bullet train seems to herald the arrival of a new one. In the 1980s and 1990s, Pitt was the chiselled gallant. In the mid-2000s, he began taking offbeat, often supporting roles in films by established directors, tapping into his wacky side, courting awards and popping up, like my colleague David Sims. puts, “uncomfortable” with his appearance as the protagonist. But ever since she won an Oscar for once upon a time in hollywood in 2020, it has been touring again, away from authors and towards material that emphasizes their looks and magnetism. Pitt appeared in saturday night live for the first time since 1998, Playing Dr. Anthony Fauci before dropping the subject and leaning on his familiar cool-boy mystique to deliver a reassuring message to audiences at home. in March The lost Cityshe tossed her hair through bangs and made jokes about her beauty.

In Bullet train, plays someone who tries not to attract attention and who becomes the main source of intrigue anyway. The plot is predictable; Pitt is not. He injects a whimsical energy into every scene, adding flavor to the bland jokes that litter the script. At the end of the movie, as she watches a stranger die in front of him, Ladybug seems amused, even delighted, by the spectacle. The morbidly funny moment suggests that the killer doesn’t believe a single koan she’s been spouting and, in fact, takes immense pleasure in his work. Perhaps Pitt, by immersing himself so fully in the character, was signaling his own desire: he will talk about his distaste for being a public figure, but he will never cease to take pleasure in the attention he receives, as long as he is the one with her. upper hand.

Consider your actions off the big screen. During the first months of the pandemic, she participated in a virtual reading table of Fast Times at Ridgemont High with his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston; then he started joking with her that a longtime tabloid target like him had to have known he would feed the gossip mill. In fact, the meeting led to renewed attention about his personal life, a subject he had, for years, insisted on avoiding. “I consider myself at my last stretch,” she told author Ottessa Moshfegh of her career during a GQ cover story—yet the accompanying photo shoot shows him as an artistic chameleon, in painterly poses and outlandish costumes, as if geared up for a new act. More recently, at the Berlin premiere of Bullet trainshe wore a skirt, then explaining a Variety that he did it because “I don’t know! We’re all going to die, so let’s screw it up.” The sound bite is characteristically Pitt: somehow funny and wise at the same time, enjoying the noise, as if he’s daring the curious to discover the answer for themselves.

Such headlines and images help drown out the nastier news around you, including the ongoing legal problems related to his divorce from Angelina Jolie and the way he continued to work with Harvey Weinstein years after learning of the producer’s predatory behavior. Each celebrity self-mythologizes and presents a personality to the public. But somehow, Pitt’s cheeky nods to his own stardom don’t seem so desperate to many viewers; instead, his antics seem to endear him even more.

Pitt’s upcoming acting work includes Damien Chazelle’s next film, so he may have refocused on A-list directors and supporting roles that don’t directly reference his celebrity. But I’d like to see him further question the effects of his charisma and take on roles that draw even more power from his off-screen appeal. He has proven to be able to play into viewers’ expectations, but can he embrace something that fully reveals his identity? Can he ever risk not really liking them? Pitt has never reprized a role outside of the original. of the ocean trilogy or risked satirizing himself by presenting SNL. He has yet to lead a franchise of his own, the kind of performance that might force him to become synonymous with a long-term character rather than let him rely on his worn-out charm. Bullet train it certainly serves the Brad Pitt brand, but it’s too weak to carry it to a new destination.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.