Drive My Car

Drive My Car ★★★★½

It is too simple to call these performances restrained, or to chalk up its intentions to representing supressed emotions. Hamaguchi is putting to practice what he preaches by cleaving from the dialogue, all emotion and action, so as to "draw-out" from each word a script's true intentions. Toko Miura, who plays the driver Misaki Watari, is the perfect vessel for embodying this. Her largely cold and distant delivery is not for highlighting her disaffection from the world but rather a formal tool; acting which emphasises dialogue alone with minimal dramatic performances; so that we the audience might linger on every word she speaks. Furthermore, the most radical realisation of this same idea is the silent delivery of lines in sign language, so that for most viewers it registers only in text subtitled across the screen. A disjuncture that emphasises truly the dialogue alone by subtracting from the performance almost all elements including, most egregiously, sound. As is the mantra of the in-world theatre director Yūsuke, played by Hidetoshi Nishijima, understanding the words of a script themselves precedes any possibility of great emotional acting. These characters, who are actors, who are ordinary people, must process everything by spilling their guts first in cold delivery before they spill it again, once more, with feeling.

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