Gruff middle school dropout Kanta Kitamachi (Mirai Moriyama) works as a day laborer and spends his money on cheap booze, peep shows and second-hand paperbacks while overdue on his rent. A perpetual loner with no social skills, Kanta unexpectedly hits it off with a new, easy-going co-worker around the same age (Kengo Kora) who tempers Kanta’s worst habits and helps him pursue his unrequited crush on a cute bookstore clerk (Atsuko Maeda). Adapted from a novel set in 1988 Tokyo, The Drudgery Train is an unconventional coming-of-age tale and class-inflected character study that manages to upend every expectation of its unlikely yet likeable hero, directed by slacker comedy auteur Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda, Linda, Linda).
Winner, Best Actor, 2013 Kinema Junpo Awards
Best Newcomer (Makita Sports), 2012 Blue Ribbon Awards
“Superb.” —The Chicago Reader
“A throwback to… [Yamashita’s] black comedy beginnings, but deeper as a character study and more adventurous as a film.” —The Japan Times