The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (16)
| Top Critics (8)
| Fresh (14)
| Rotten (2)
Amid the rumble, Sniadecki's camera spies such a variety of life that it soon seems as though these trains provide a stage for the full spectrum of human activity.
Filmmaker J.P. Sniadecki withholds judgment and resists editorializing, but the result is frustratingly nebulous and devoid of context.
"The Iron Ministry" is neither boring nor confining, which is just to say that it's not a long trip through a faraway country. It's a work of art - vivid and mysterious and full of life.
The overheard conversations touch on social issues (e.g., China's rapid industrialization and rampant unemployment) addressed more thoroughly in numerous recent Chinese films.
What emerges is a sense of an optimistic people well aware of how hard times can be but convinced they might be getting better.
The parallel tracks of railways and cinema profitably converge yet again in J.P.Sniadecki's outstanding, semi-experimental documentary The Iron Ministry, a pungently immersive evocation of traveling on Chinese trains.
Some of these trains are very old and rickety. Others are very new, fast, and flashy. All are linked into one movement through the film's 82 minutes.
It's curious about people in a way that's frankly old-fashioned.
For a fly-on-the-wall ethnographic film, Iron Ministry is surprisingly funny.
The Iron Ministry is a rather odd work for many reasons, even if its depiction of class and ethnicity on various trains across modern China captures an essential moment.
A subtly political film about the hopes and frustrations of ordinary Chinese citizens that is as dramatic in its own odd way as a kung-fu costume drama.
Seamlessly rides many rails through China to intimately experience sounds, sights, and even smells, alongside restless people on the move through space and economic change.
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