Kafuku, a theatre artist, is struggling to survive following his wife’s untimely death. His wife was a screenwriter. She used to conceive stories while having sex. Ryusuke Hamaguchi spent a long time establishing Kafuku’s bond with his wife, Oto. They could have easily deleted many things, but the decision to keep every single detail, every small conversation aided the film in the end. Drive My Car has one of the longest prologues ever seen in a film.
After many years, Kafuku met a girl named Misaki while working on a multilingual production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. She is an expert driver. Following some hesitation, Kafuku employed her as his driver. Kafuku has already played Uncle Vanya’s character several times and knows every line by heart. But he didn’t want to say those souls ripping Chekhov’s lines this time. He decides to cast someone else. Uncle Vanya’s dialogues struck a chord with him in some way. The film delves into the complexities of life. Misaki and Kafuku have both experienced several disasters in the past. But they managed to survive, albeit in excruciating suffering. This is how life works.
When the globe is going through a difficult period following COVID. A film about suffering and pain becomes more significant. This three-hour film will have you rooting for the protagonists. Drive My Car has some well-executed conversions. The temporal shifts are done in a really fluid manner. It has the feel of a novel. They didn’t go overboard with the melodrama. This lends it a sense of realism.
The lengthy takes, cinematography, and music all contribute to the film’s overall ambiance. The portrayal of Misaki by Toko Miura is very close to the original text. A character that is indifferent, apathetic, and rarely speaks is perfectly portrayed. Hidetoshi Nishijima’s portrayal of Kafuku has a particularly personal feel to it. Kafuku searches for the explanation for his late wife’s affairs throughout the film. Nishijima gives a genuine performance as a confused and remorseful individual.
Drive My Car will compete at the Oscars following its success at Cannes. This is critical for this genre of film to get widespread attention. We’re betting on a Best Adapted Screenplay triumph at the Academy Awards.
Regardless, Drive My Car is one of the most relevant movies in recent years. It will pique your interest in the rich works of Kafka, Chekhov, Samuel Beckett and Haruki Murakami. All humans share a common experience of pain and suffering. We shall live on with all our suffering, surrounded by the dead. There are no other choices.