Capsule Review: Among the film critic community, Drive My Car continues to garner unabashed praise. The latest from director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, the drama is a three-hour, emotionally restrained journey that thankfully is not just about someone driving around in a car, but could be observed as not a whole lot more if you care not to look. Hamaguchi has made a respected career of telling powerful stories stripped of melodrama, but it’s an approach that, in this case, hovers on the edge of dry. I greatly appreciated his 2018 film Asako I & II, but otherwise his storytelling approach and the the themes that summer just below the surface don’t do a lot for me.
Drive My Car is incredibly long and despite having all the right elements—an inquisitive screenplay, strong performances, and detailed direction—I simply didn’t care a lot for the characters or the story. In that regard, it’s a movie I can respect more than enjoy, a production of unfailing quality that I hesitate to recommend.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.