A very evocative film that unfolds like a dream.
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
Added: 8 years ago
This film brought back alot of nostalgia from my small-town Midwestern boyhood days, when Wal-Mart hadn't yet destroyed the town I grew up in and we still had a drive-in movie theater. I'd been enthralled with movies from a very young age, but this was something new: film as an outdoor activity! No one could accuse me of never getting off the couch if I went there. I remember being particularly taken with a film that combined both live-action and animated characters. I looked for that film for years. Later I found out it was Song of the South, a notoriously racist Disney film that the House of Mouse was forced to disown. So it wasn't a perfect childhood, but the memories are still good. That's all drive-ins are these days: memories.
But they live on in movies, including this one. It was shot as part of the 48 Hour Film Project, in which participants are assigned the formidable task of writing, shooting, editing and scoring a film in a single weekend. It's remarkable that Drive-In Alone was made under these conditions. The filmmakers secured an amazing and highly cinematic location: a drive-in out in the desert. The acting doesn't feel rushed and the performers don't feel secondhand; they feel just right for their roles. There's also some remarkable cinematography (the film was shot on the High Definition 720p, for you technical geeks), especially the scenes set inside the car at night. The score is stock in trade, but you'd have to expect that given the time constraints.
The film opens with shots of city life and busy traffic. It then cuts to the beautiful secluded drive-in, where an older woman pulls up, the only car in the lot. She positions a portable screen on the dashboard, pretending as if it were the big white one outside, and watches an old black-and-white movie. The film becomes a mosaic of flashbacks and a movie-within-a-movie. The filmmakers actually had to shoot the old movie, too: a 1950s melodrama. Again, remarkable that this could all be accomplished in a weekend.
But let's aside the way the film was made and just appreciate what it does: evoke a sense of longing, not only for that theater but the experiences it creates. The old woman keeps having memories of a happier time when she was beautiful and took a date to the drive-in. This is a very evocative film that unfolds like a dream.