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Hypnotic "Drive My Car" is a cruise of contemplation, confessions and epiphanies

Starring Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masaki Okada, Toko Miura, Reika Kirishima, Park Yurim and Jin Daeyeon. Written by Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, adapted from the short story by Haruki Murakami. Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Currently screening at TIFF Bell Lightbox; streaming TBA. 179 minutes. 14A


Peter Howell

Movie Critic

A vintage red Saab becomes a conveyance for contemplation, confessions and epiphanies in Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s hypnotic road drama, based on a Haruki Murakami short story.

A multiple prize winner at Cannes 2021, and Japan’s submission for the next Academy Awards, the film stars Hidetoshi Nishijima as stage actor and director Yusuke Kafuku, wounded by family tragedy and marital infidelity, who takes a theatre residency in Hiroshima for a production of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.”

Circumstances force him to reluctantly accept a personal driver (Toko Miura), who is as skilled behind the wheel as she is taciturn.

From such a minor premise does a mighty film grow, one so absorbing and enigmatic its three-hour running time flashes by. 🌓

(This review originally ran in the Toronto Star.)



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