Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Brian Tyree Henry

QuickView: Causeway (2022)

“If it get dark now, you just ride it.”


Ostensibly about a soldier recovering from PTSD after a tour in Afghanistan, Causeway broadens its focus midway into a wider examination of trauma outside its initial military context. Within the space of a smaller film, Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry have the freedom to deliver understated and introspective performances as new friends trying to heal. The Louisiana setting provides an uncomfortable environment in its oppressive heat, but the slower pace of life also makes the sudden friendship ring truer. Lynsey is not presented lazily as merely a victim and her growth ultimately requires dealing with a past that she has sought to outrun. Free of fiery flashbacks — the frequently used cinematic language that inaccurately depicts trauma — Causeway instead presents the more innocuous impacts like memory loss and sudden waves of debilitating emotion. Observational rather than explosive, Neuberger’s debut feature might not be ambitious in its reach, but it firmly grasps what it touches.


QuickView: Bullet Train (2022)

“Right on schedule.”


Bullet Train is a Tarantino-esque crime story that unfolds within the confines of a single train, populated by an ensemble cast of colourful assasins in the vein of John Wick. The ensemble cast excels in bringing these thinly sketched assassins to life, undermined only by some very dubious accents. Central to this is Brad Pitt’s charmingly hapless hitman-in-therapy, though Bryan Tyree Henry and Joey King are likely to be the most memorable. David Leitch’s action credentials are beyond reproach, having spent several decades as a stunt performer and coordinator (including as Pitt’s stunt double) before turning to direction with John Wick. He was apparently reluctant to direct this project because of the constraints in choreographing action confined in a train, but those restrictions can also breed creativity as we have seen previously in Snowpiercer and Train to Busan ⁠— such is the case with Bullet Train, and there is little sense of repetition in the kinetic hyperviolence until very late in the proceedings. The neon visuals of Leitch’s spy thriller Atomic Blonde also fit more naturally into the Japanese setting. The final element to holding the audience’s attention is the twisting story that gradually links the backstories of these assassins as they hurtle toward an ominous final stop in Kyoto. Along with Everything Everywhere All At Once, 2022 seems to be a welcome return for franchise-free action films and, in a quiet summer less dominated by superhero movies, hopefully Bullet Train will find the audience it deserves.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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