An astute dissemination of social-economic stasis purveyed through an omnidirectional approach, Nobuhiro Yamashita's The Drudgery Train is an empathetic portrait of a distraught man in Kanta who attempts to navigate the impasse between adolescence and adulthood. Audacious with consistent purpose, and brimming with complexity and earnestness, The Drudgery Train illuminates the distinct and diverse entanglements of identity and self-worth, viewing them through a balanced approach in which the film systematically eviscerates the false binary between social and personal constructions of identity. Distinct in the way it balances its larger social-economic undertones with a framework that manages to always be attuned to its complex, central characterization, The Drudgery Train is an extremely well-balanced film of emotional resonance and intellectual investigation. Assured yet ripe with spontaneity, The Drudgery Train is an extremely compelling portrait of a young man who was disadvantaged at a young age by the system. He struggles to adapt and grasp the opportunities that present themselves. He struggles to find companionship - platonic or romantic. It's a film that borders on tragedy, yet offers so many little wonderful moments of potential, delivering a painfully honest yet never judgemental portrait that I frankly was enamored by. The various social and economical entanglements that sculpt and mold identity are given credence, and yet, the film is never dismissive about the self-inflicted nature of Kanta's behavior, which at times becomes incredibly tragic due to this own combative mindset. Self-inflicted wounds and larger social conditions aren't viewed as disparate but homogeneous to Kanta's identity, and due to this fact the film's underlying subtext related to class relations and meritocracy just gain more resolve because of this film's varied characterizations and general investigations related to community, interpersonal relationships, and individualistic self-love.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.