Drive My Car
We are sticking to world cinema this weekend but before that we at Popcorn Reviewss wpuld like to wish you a very Happy and Prosperous 2022! And thank you for all your love and support, rest assured we will be starting 2022 which a lot more intensity. So coming back to the review and I have just finished watching Drive My Car which is Japan’s official entry to the Academy Awards this year. And dare I say it is one of the favourites to lift the Oscar. I went into the film not knowing what to expect much as I preferred to skip the trailer. All I was aware of was its duration which was a shade under 3 hours! So then is Drive My Car worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Drive My Car follows the story of a stage actor and director who in a sudden turn of events becomes a loner with a lot of pain buried inside him. Now, if you are familiar with Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s previous work Wheel Of Fortune and Fantasy then you would know that his films are conversational with a lot of dialogues expressing the mindset of the protagonists. There wouldn’t be flashbacks, instead the characters would narrare incident according to how they feel at the moment rather than showcasing a gaze on the hindsight. And the story is a tale of strength, valour and heartbreak with a dash of philosophy. The screenplay is a slow burner where each incident is fleshed out. But be assured that the writing is layered and nuanced and offers to speak a lot through many subtexts. This is not your conventional storytelling technique where you are spoon fed as an audience. The sequences are open to interpretation and mostly demand your entire attention to feel every emotion of a couple of broken souls. Each of the two protagonists are flawed with a lot of guilt and remorse buried inside them. Yet, there is a bit of hesitation in opening up as they continue to bury the pain like so many of us. This single aspect is just so relatable, the way we bury our anger and pain deep inside us while portraying a happy face to the world.
The scenes involving the theatre and the act adds a lovely subtext to the drama. The conversations might feel put on at the very beginning but slowly they get easier just like life. The subtle twists and turns are interesting as you are already so invested in the drama. The final monologue is philosophical which comes after a scene of acceptance to reality and moving on. The philosophical nature is so well enacted and conveyed that it is sure to touch your heart. This is perhaps the best written screenplay of the year – so poignant and touching. A masterclass in screenplay writing!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are poignant and conversational yet they carry a lot of weight and create a massive impact. The BGM is subtle and filled with melancholy and regret. It pierces your heart so much so that you end up thinking about the drama long after it is over. Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi has done a terrific job. He is a master of emotions and conversations and this film felt like a three hour therapy session. The silence is used so effectively, it is almost meditative and the feelings are just beautifully portrayed. The direction is top notch!
The performances are exquisite here. Reika Kirishima as Ota does a fine job. It may seem like a skin show all the way but there is so much more to her. Masaki Okada as Takatsuki does well in quite a unique role. Toko Miura as Watari reflects of so much pain through her eyes. She really internalizes her performance and manages to touch your heart. Hidetoshi Nishijima as Kafuke is a character that begins talking to you after a point. You seem to connect to his conflicting emotions and almost find yourself in his place. He brilliantly portrays the conflict in the most stoic manner and he is wonderfully restrained in this acting masterclass.
Drive My Car is a poignant and heartfelt take on relationships which a dash of philosophy. Perhaps the best film of 2021 and a movie on whom I would wish to place my bets on to lift the Oscar this year. Highly Highly Highly Recommended!