Bullet Train – Lessons in How to Behave Well

So  helpful when movies lend me a hand in teaching le bon comportement. First, and most importantly, karma helps people who are kind. Yes, it’s good to behave well for its own sake, but never forget that good behavior is always linked to good consequences.

In this film, it’s the people who APOLOGIZE who survive – Ladybug and Lemon! And the people who are people who are focused on someone ELSE also survive, the Elder and the Son are more concerned about the little boy than themselves, so they win the honor of living.

And such wisdom about the necessity of asking for clarification and not staying within one’s mindset!

In a fraught scene, Prince (the daughter) tells her father that she wants to be seen, meaning she wants to be part of his life and valued by him. The father replies, “you are not part of my plan.” She takes this at face-value and feels rejected. The result of this perceived slight is that both end up dead.

But his “plan” was a scheme of revenge against his son and others he felt were responsible for his wife’s death. The daughter was not part of his plan of mass-murder; she was supposed to survive, meaning he did care about her (in this twisted psychopathic way…)

My favorite part is the Boomslang – what a great name! Sheer perfection!

You see, Darling, the snake is mentioned several times and is seen now and then, slithering hither and yon, but (here’s the brilliant part!) it does not bite anyone.

Every time you sees the snake, you wonder who it will bite. There’s a poisonous snake; it must be part of the plot. But it isn’t. It’s the best possible refutation of Chekhov’s “gun principle,” to wit:

Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first act that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third act it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.

The snake is a wonderful reminder of how there are always awful things lurking about, but sometimes they miss us. Just because you see a snake, doesn’t mean the snake is a significant part of your story. Sometimes the funny noise your engine is making stops of its own accord, sometimes the meeting is canceled, sometimes that call from HR means you got a promotion and sometimes your bête noire slinks off into the sunset without you needing to raise a finger.

One can always hope – one should always hope.

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