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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Drive My Car (2021)

Not going to lie, Oscar made me do it.

41 minutes in and then the titles appear? What's all that about then? I can only assume that we're led to believe that anything prior to these is just foreplay? Did the death of his wife not matter?

I think it's an important question to ask but just how hard is it for a good actor to act like he or she is acting badly on purpose although seemingly by accident? I sometimes can't make out here whether it's actually bad, or good acting made to look bad. If it's the former, then oh dear, but if it's the latter, well, two firm thumbs up. Not being able to tell the difference probably says more about me than anything the film delivers.

If you like Saab's, and/or driving, you are well served here for both as there is alot of both on show. This is an intriguing three hours and needs your full attention. Some have said it needs to be watched at least twice to get the most out of it. Honestly, I found just the one visit perplexing and taxing enough to admit I'll unlikely be giving it a re-visit.

I'm not enough of a raging philistine to dismiss it out of hand, of course, and there are elements of this overlong Oscar contender that are beautiful like the cinematography and the script is often delightful and extremely poetic. Nonetheless, this does not stop it from being an often tedious test of your patience.

It's literal efforts to remind us of our leads' very real connection to the works of Beckett and Chekhov featured here did not go unnoticed and wasn't exactly subtle. Whether that was by accident or design, it makes this reviewer wonder just how much the director imagines his audience needs their hand holding.

This is top-class professional navel-gazing which is no mean feat given the opportunity for it to be lost in ambling translation. Post-Parasite, this can no longer be classed as good enough, even if Japan is not enjoying the same adoration that Korean cinema and television has recently been sometimes flattered by.

It may well just sneak off with Best International Picture at the Oscars, but this just won't do for the Academy masses, to get a sniff of Best Picture.

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