Drive My Car – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Drive My Car – Life’s Highway: A Heart on the Wheel

It is a but a moment, but to speak of it makes manners all that more precious.  We speak of those defining points in our lives, a manner of remembering all the marks (good and bad).  No matter how we come to it, life is but a thread of what comes next.  In this review, I look at a Japanese indie/drama that moves through those important moments.  A tale wrapped within hardship; it is an endearing path that recognizes all that marks that make us … us.  Even as the film is a slow burn, Drive My Car is a sublime reflection of our road in life.

This is a story that levels within the conjecture of moments and time.  Building outside the typical Three-Act structure, we drop into the life of renowned stage actor/director Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima).  In the beginning, we follow a typical ‘day in the life’ sequence of his acting career in Japan.  The commonplace provides subtle layers to infallible situations, a methodical approach to human endeavors.  As things become a web of unanswered question, it leads to a particular moment in time: The unexpected death of his wife.  This sets the foundation for the film, leading (a few years later) Yusuke traveling to Hiroshima to direct a production of Uncle Vanya.  This becomes the central focal point, adding a connective tissue to familial memories, friendship building and preparation of the stage production.  As Yusuke works through the process, the slow burn directive builds characters through pragmatic and emotional marks.  This approach can hinder the instance of appeal, but it is an approach that allows for the rawness of communal foundations.  By watching Yusuke have normal interactions with those in the play, his driver and others creates a poignant mark of situations.  You see that subtle quip of gravitas, seeing how his wife’s death adds a fragile balance of character and emotions.  In each passing week (of production) the rawness of situations become a reflection of life, creating a thread between happiness and lost.  Yusuke attempts to keep things focused on the play, but it also becomes an inflection point for his own purpose in life.

As the journey weaves through each week of production, it is the commonality of ‘day-to-day’ that becomes riveting.  Through redundancy, it is conversations that provides the heart of the journey.  Each interaction produces a strong layer of authenticity that draws out a grounded appeal for exposition.  The strength of the script revels in common bonds, making things feel real.  As things finally reach a moment to stage the play, it becomes an amalgamation of life’s true worth.  With the final scene, it is an ambiguous ending that is ironically forth right with what truly is a mark on life.  Drive My Car is riveting indie/drama that leaves it marks on being a reflection on life.  Even though the journey is a slow burn, I think it will leave a lasting effect on those that watch it.  If you are a fan of Japanese films, indie/dramas or stories that reflect on life, this is one for you.  It is available on VOD/Prime Video, but it would be a good time on the big screen.

Full Score – 3.5 out of 5 (Matinee)

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