a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Take the “A” Train / 僕達急行 A列車で行こう

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Director Yoshimitsu Morita passed away this last December, leaving Take the “A” Train as his final film. Featuring a likeable pair of actors, Eita and Kenichi Matsuyama as a pair of 20-something train nerds, Take the “A” Train is a meandering ramble through Honshu and Kyushu, following an equally rambling plotline. Unlike Yoshimitsu’s earlier critiques of Japanese life (e.g. The Family Game), his final film celebrates the train otaku culture that makes Japan special. Eita plays Kenta, the proletarian, who meets up with Kei (Matsuyama), a salaryman, who despite class differences bond over their mutual love of trains. Nostalgic and romantic interludes are interspersed with lots of trains and landscapes. Seeing how many different trains one can spot and identify takes precedence over any meaningful plot. And even in the belief suspending conventions of comedy, there are a few too many beyond belief that would have best been left on the editing room floor – along with the Kenta’s happy immigrant negro co-workers who are beyond stereotype. Morita’s legacy will ride on his early much better films.

Originally published in EL Magazine, March 2012.

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

March 1, 2012 at 3:33 am

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