Night Train to Lisbon
Beautiful and Exhilarating
‘The Night Train to Lisbon’ is a movie that requires you to invest in the spontaneous inexplicable decisions of its protagonist Raimund played by Jeremy Irons. The movie is about the eventful days that follow when a bored teacher of Latin saves a woman in a red coat from jumping off a bridge and then takes a night train to Lisbon. The rest of the story finds him investing in the book written by a Portuguese doctor and philosopher Amadeu Prado and trying to find out more about Amadeu’s life and times.
The core of the movie revolves around Amadeu’s life. Raimund through chancing upon and finding some of Amadeu’s accomplices from that period, little by little discovers about Amadeu’s life. The story about Amadeu’s life is about his principles, the revolution against Salazar and his romance. I found this part of the movie invigorating and exciting. It was much like a crime thriller where the detective locates clues, talks to witnesses and slowly starts uncovering the entire picture. It was shot and played out beautifully and I found myself emotionally investing in the story.
However, the part of the movie that really touched my heart was Raimund’s decisions and actions. Leaving his moribund life in search of meaning that he had found in Amadeu’s writing. I didn’t much understand why Amadeu’s words got to him, nor did the movie address this issue. Raimund only said that Amadeu’s words affected him deeply. However, I agreed to invest in Raimund’s obsession over Amadeu and this definitely let me enjoy the movie for what it was.
We don’t get to know much about Raimund. It is only through his interactions with Mariana do we get to know what his thoughts and emotions are. Even then, we come to know very little about him other than his obsession with Amadeu’s life and how he considers his life and himself to be boring. Maybe, that’s the objective. To show that there is nothing else in his life. This newly formed obsession about Amadeu is all there is.
I liked the movie because of Raimund’s courage to drop everything and go follow an obsession. That for me was real courage. To break away from everything that you know and jump into something unknown with no reward and no end in sight.