Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy allows Hamaguchi to return to themes he has explored in previous work from the way life is measured in twists of fate to a sense of duality in individual lives and characters.
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Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s film is an alternately scathing, erotic, terrifying, and affirming fable of the primordial power of storytelling.
This one is every bit as static and chatty as fans have come to expect; rooted to its two-actors-in-a-room reality, but also charming and characteristically unpredictable for the ways it wiggles free of it like a loose tooth.
The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw
This trio of stories is elegant and amusing, with a delicacy of touch and real imaginative warmth.
Each of these episodes is well acted, follows a reasonably conventional three-act structure and emphasizes interesting female characters in a compelling situation — which is more than can be said for many portmanteau films, where one segment is markedly more satisfying than the others. But it also suggests an ongoing resistance on Hamaguchi’s part to engage with the feature form itself.
The Film Stage by Rory O'Connor
It feels a complete whole––a wry intertwining dialectic on modern desires––yet each scene is uniquely bracing: beautifully poised, exquisitely observed, and even erotically charged––rife with unabashed seduction, though always close enough to farce to keep things kösher and to keep you guessing (it’s telling that we barely glimpse a kiss).
The Hollywood Reporter by Stephen Dalton
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is full of understated, melancholy poetry.
Drive My Car was probably my favorite film of 2021, so I couldn't wait to watch this one. I was not disappointed! I love an anthology film and I think Hamaguchi nailed that structure. Each of the three installments felt very well fleshed out, and it felt like they all belonged together thematically. I knew I was going to love it from the very first scene, with its understated but beautiful dialogue. It's pretty remarkable that Hamaguchi directed not one, but two amazing movies last year, both released in the span of just a few months. I'm excited to dig into his filmography more, and to see what he does in the future.