I do not usually get upset after watching a critically acclaimed film, but upon spending three hours in the slow-moving vehicle, DRIVE MY CAR, that’s how I felt. One of my least favorite things to do with people is debate paintings considered works of art. I get frustrated when people tell me, “I don’t get why they are brilliant.” I understand it most of the time, but I’m just bored. That is the best way to describe DRIVE MY CAR. It’s a fancy painting that if you’re smart, you’ll get and love, but if you’re not sophisticated enough, like me, you’ll keep checking your watch, asking, “are we there yet?” Never in my life have I been happier not to be smart and arrive at the end of this laborious road trip.
There’s no need to buckle up for this non-thrilling ride. Just how bored was I while watching DRIVE MY CAR? I was so bored that I started counting things. In one hundred and eighty minutes, there were:
- Twenty-six car driving sequences with characters talking to themselves, others, or just driving in silence.
- One scene with a parked car on a boat driving.
- Four sex scenes. Surprisingly none of them in a car.
I found the acting to be outstanding and the meta-themes about loss, love, and regret universal. I also enjoyed the plot framing mechanism with a play that has the scenes on the stage mirror the characters’ emotions in real life. Yet, I still wanted to escape the vehicle well before reaching its destination.
Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s style is so muted that even when characters do actions while talking, they accomplish nothing (ex. a lengthy dinner scene where the characters hardly eat). This lack of movement left me less than moved throughout the experience.
At one point, a character in DRIVE MY CAR states, “when that time comes, we shall rest.” If only this character had been a better back seat driver and stated this sooner. I would’ve saved myself the three hours of my life that I’ll never get back. 🚗 💥
DRIVE MY CAR is available in limited theatres.