Monday 19 December 2022

Mubi Monday: Sexual Drive (2021)

Sex. Not only does it sell, but it can also be a fascinating doorway into the psyche of a person. Whether that covers experiences that we could all find familiar or whether it is a unique kink, sex can be handled in a way that opens up an entire conversation about the length and breadth of human nature.

Sexual Drive is an anthology movie that shows different people involved in different sexual episodes. It’s not graphic, there’s no nudity here, but the plot hinges on people revealing intimate details about their sexual preferences. The one common denominator throughout each tale is a man named Kurita (Tateto Serizawa), spending his time onscreen either manipulating others or seemingly putting himself forward as a submissive object for the woman he has kept in his thoughts since their schooldays.

Written and directed by Kôta Yoshida, who seems to have made a huge number of films exploring sex, with some love also in the mix, Sexual Drive is a film that I cannot say I enjoyed. My first feature from Yoshida, it doesn’t do anything to spur me on to check out any of his other movies.

While the performances here are generally very good, nobody is able to overcome the surprisingly weak script. Three different tales boil down to the same core idea, someone is placed in a hugely submissive role that seriously unbalances the mindset of someone else, and that lack of imagination exemplifies what is wholly wrong about the film. This is written and directed by someone who doesn’t seem to know even a fraction of the huge spectrum of sexual preferences and sexuality. It’s the kind of tale designed for people who want to pretend they can handle adult material, but without pesky problems like bad language or nudity.

Although I am not going to discuss and rate each one of the main performances, Serizawa deserves some extra praise for his turn, and I must also mention Honami Satô for her portrayal of an object of obsession, a trigger for a very specific sexual kink, in the second, and best, tale.

Mercifully short, it clocks in at about 70 minutes, but still managing to feel slightly overlong, this is another one of many films that takes adult material and fails to treat it the right way. It’s disappointingly juvenile, one or two moments aside, and wastes an opportunity to cinematically explore sex in a constructive and satisfying way. And the last thing most people want is unsatisfying, wasted, sex. It’s why I am always surprised whenever I have managed to convince someone to date me.


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