Drive My Car Review, Drive My Car Haruki Murakami

Drive My Car’ Review: A Director Takes Your Heart for a Spin

There is a brief transition into the three-hour opening run of Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s stunning “Drive My Car”, where the wheels of the film’s integral automobile are turned into spinning reels of cassette tape in a recorder. For a moment, they fuse, almost as if the sound captured on that device acts as the vehicle’s fuel. And in a sense it happens, because he’s like a Sonic Ghost mile after mile with the audio driver.

Underestimated in its extravagant awards, it is the second Hamaguchi-helmed feature released this year (the other being “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy”), one of Haruki Murakami’s short stories from Men Without Women. Selected as Japan’s entry for the Best International Feature Film Oscar – the first time the filmmaker’s work received the honour – “Drive My Car” is the epitome of his deserved success.

After a post-coital pacification, actor and theater director Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) and his wife, screenwriter Otto (Rika Kirishima), verbally prepare a story for their next television project. They talk about a teenage girl who becomes so infatuated with a classmate that she infiltrates his house to steal unmatched souvenirs. His innate imagery sets in as one of the storytelling layers that eventually overlap with self-referential grace under the auspicious narrative guidance of Hamaguchi and co-screenwriter Takamasa O.

Two years after a personal tragedy coupled with unresolved resentment, Yusuke moves to Hiroshima, a city with its own history of disaster, to perform a new stage version of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya by the actors. Performed by actors who speak their native language. As part of the job, he must agree to hire a driver, a condition for which he is reluctant. Getting behind the wheel of your older, two-door model is ritualistic in its importance.

Burning bright red through the streets and highways, the artist’s car is a temple of freedom and solitude, the embodiment of return and departure, a way back home to their beloved and escape the consequences of their present. It is in the silence of that moving space that Otto’s voice comes through the speakers to the tape above that feeds him lines, a lifeline. What she reads may come from a classic text or perhaps directly from it, but the distinction doesn’t matter. Both become one in the same sequence.

First by the removed protection of an uninvited reflection on a mirror, then with the close intensity of two people listening to each other as the world around them had faded into irrelevance, “Drive My Car” softly stuns Yusuke. Never push too hard but let the pain manifest at its own time. Breaking to pieces, when Yusuke finally receives divine relief of catharsis from Hamaguchi, the long emotional withholding makes for a startled, shared release.

The description that applies to the film as a whole, Nishijima’s turn is surprisingly shattering for its absurdity. Confronting his constant distress with professional diligence as a grieving husband and father, he maintains a strenuous sobriety until he can swallow his anger toward the man he loved most. The actor’s stoic gestures provide an impenetrable fortress that is unwilling to give any indication of his true self.

That energy, which has gone unnoticed and wants to remain undisturbed, is matched by her assigned personal driver, Misaki (Toko Miura), a young woman who lives more than a safe distance from her own guilt in a past life. buried in the ruins of Following Yusuke’s daily rehearsals with his cast, which includes embattled star Koji Takatsuki (Masaki Okada), a slowly built intimacy with Misaki comes to the foreground. Miura’s humble vocal performance fuels a sense of mutual secrecy, and subsequently increases the guilt that numbs them both.

A reserved Misaki initially limits her conversation to suppress play on her recording. But a dinner scene where he admires her smooth driving skills destroys whatever air of servitude was left in the power imbalance imposed on them. Hamaguchi further speaks of an unspoken understanding between people in the way Yusuke’s international thespians demonstrate with each other from sensory memory, often not understanding what the other says through language but feeling lonely.

Rich in cinematographer Hidetoshi Shinomiya’s subtle imagery, the film separates majestic visual symbolism from events that normally take place. Take, for example, a shot of Yusuke and Misaki’s hand holding a cigarette in the car’s sunroof, so as not to let the smoke permeate their sacred mode of transportation—an untold union of honour. The tried-and-tested four-wheeler co-star’s lengthy conversation in the back seat forces the camera to remain fixed on their faces, recording the other’s reaction and reaction without the other embellishments that are being said and Respect how the other is receiving it. The back and forth between the two interlocutors spewing honesty nakedly, sounds exhilarating in its simple composition.

There are no flashbacks in this sprawling, humanistic epic, a choice that coincides with the theme of what lies ahead and what isn’t in the rearview mirror of the past. Characters come to life not in the vision of who they were, but in the product of the experiences in which they are now. In the delicate, patient touch of Hamaguchi’s direction, characters are no longer idealized combinations of words and thoughts on a writer’s page. Their transformation into the body of the cast is by osmosis, it would seem, not to impart conservation knowledge but a sympathetic revelation that feels alive. A thoughtful and tearful ride in which the destination is a spiritual confrontation with the self, “Drive My Car” delves into and comforts through its vehicular poem of the sorrow that we run into, the collisions that wake us up, and the gains gained from every collision. treatment way.

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