28 February 2000 | enfilmigult
Much better than the story itself
Though the script has indeed been done to death already, it's not the script itself so much as the wonderful filter it's put through that makes this worth seeing. The basic outline of the plot is embarrassing just to summarize--a woman is forced to choose between security with her boring bank teller fiancée, and heady but dangerous freedom with the good-looking bank robber who kidnaps her. Seriously. It's clichéd to its very bones, in every detail, at pretty much every moment.
It's kind of amazing that the writer/director of 'Double Happiness' would invest any time or effort in this idea, but give her credit: she really invested time and effort in it. I've been trying to nail down what it is she's doing here, and it's difficult. She tells this story with utter sincerity, but never seems to be pretending that it's anything but absurd. There's no way we would ever buy this setup, so why not make it all look like some sort of fluid, color-saturated dream? There's barely a plot to hang together, so why not just sort of slide through it in a happy, dreamy reverie? And yet the characters are written and performed exactly like people who've never seen a movie in which anything like this ever happened, and are so surprised by each development that they nearly trick us into being surprised ourselves. Search me as to why this is so watchable.
In short, 'Drive, She Said' could have been a boring, listless road movie with a scanty story, and instead it's a dreamlike, beautiful road movie with a scanty story. More profound insights can be had from a movie, without a doubt, but it's hard to begrudge one that's so clearly happy to be alive.