Not going to be too much of an opening for this one. Writing everyday has finally taken a toll on me and the inclination to review has begun to wither. Though still I’ll push on until the month has ceased.
“A renowned stage actor and director learns to cope with his wife’s unexpected passing when he receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima.” – IMDb
There’s a specific type of film that I’ve come to really enjoy. In these films, characters talk. They don’t necessarily talk a lot, but they talk enough. What they say is important, containing a lot of allusions to things nestled within their souls that wish to escape, but cannot. Films that are true to reality while also puzzle-like. Drive My Car is such a blunt, straightforward name for something definitely anything but
This film reminded me somewhat of Columbus. Outside of being twice as long and a little more ambitious with its themes, there are many qualities that they share from their execution that I really enjoyed. Reserved characters with baggage speaking with others that can share their burden. Deeply personal traumas that are alluded to through various activities. Pay careful attention and you may find something building.
Initially, the very long runtime unnerved me (it’s about three hours). Sure, more time to develop the plot is beneficial, but anyone outside of hardcore fans going in, whether for the synopsis or director, would hesitate. After sitting through the entirety, there are some parts I would trim, though nothing egregiously “useless.” The runtime is valid in sowing the seeds of symbolism that resonate within.
One critic I trust stated that he couldn’t get into this film emotionally, despite its incredibly potent emotional foundation. With this in mind, I was under the impression that it would try very hard to be super melodramatic. Turns out, it’s very reserved—intentionally so. It’s dramatic, just coolly so. Characters coming to grips with traumatic situations through a variety of means. About two hours of this simply follows the path to personal resolution.
Like with other films with a lot of cryptic messaging, this is one I’d rather leave to individual interpretation rather than dissect it all. It’s more rewarding to go into this relatively blind, so that people can understand all from the very beginning. And it is rather tale-like, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Though it’s more accurate to say the climax occurs near the beginning, and the rest of the film is a gradually falling action.
Did I… actually say much about my personal thoughts on this? Well, I said it reminded me of Columbus, which I love, so I suppose that’s enough. Drive My Car is among the best of this year’s Best Picture nominees for its meticulous, reserved approach to drama. Long and at times too blunt, it’s not perfect, nor will it hold people over the entire time. Still, I enjoyed it quite a bit and will wish to re-watch it in the coming years.
Final Score: 8/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!
Thank you for your time. Have a great timezone.