Night Train (2007)

Rongcai Fu, Chao Ji, Dan Liu, Shudi Liu,
Wu Hongyan is a young woman working as a prison guard during executions of female convicts. She feels lonely after her husband died, and she takes a night train to another city to visit a dating service. After a series of unsucces...
  • 6.4 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Yi'nan Diao, Director:
  • Steve Chow, Vivian Qu, Producer:

All subtitles:



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6 / 10

Zola-esquire

Based in an industrial provincial Chinese city, this is about the lives of a handful of people affected by a crime. There's a strong element of realism in the depiction of both lives and cityscapes of China today and this is the film's great strength. The story is told in an episodic way, with each episode unfolding fairly slowly. One had to be fairly alert to understand how each episode related to the main story and universal themes of the film, which are desire, loneliness, revenge and the justice system. However, the script is pared down, with relatively little dialogue or detailing of the lives depicted. There are elements of suspense and also an interest for non-Chinese in observing the detailed workings of a society. The acting is restrained but convincing. In justifying my lowish score, I would point to the relative lack of pace and complexity as factors against engagement.

8 / 10

Bleak picture of life in a developing economy

The story is set in a modern provincial industrial town in China. There are factories, steel furnaces, destroyed landscapes. Everywhere you see the results of exploitation of the physical environment in an attempt to escape poverty.

This element of exploitation is shaping human relationships as well. In particular rape is the recurring theme of the film. All this is seen through the eyes of an unquestioning agent of government authority, a ruthless female jailer. In her uncharacteristic and futile quest for love she takes the regular night train to a dating agency in a nearby town.

The film is shot in an understated way. Nothing seems exaggerated or hyped. I too was underwhelmed at first, but having seen it a couple of days ago I find images and scenes are still haunting me. And it was only in retrospect that I realized how desperate the ending was.

As a portrait of a society hovering just above the poverty line it has a universal appeal that easily transcends its place of origin.