Thursday, October 27, 2011

Drive [2011]

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bryan Cranston, Carey Mulligan ♥, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks
Genre: Drama/Crime/Thriller

Rating: Mature (violence, blood and gore, brief nudity)
Excerpt: "
Atmospheric, ethereal and if you can sit through it once, you'll find that you wouldn't mind seeing it again and again..."


The Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a loner who divides his time doing three different things, but they all have one thing in common; they all involve driving. A part-time stunt driver for movies, he also works as a mechanic whenever he's not a filming, and moonlights as getaway driver for burglaries at night. One day, his boss at the workshop, Shannon (Bryan Cranston) hooks him up with a job as a prospect stock car driver, setting them back $300,000 in debt with the mob. Meanwhile, The Driver's budding romance with the wife of a convict, Irene (Carey Mulligan ♥) will put them all in a dangerous position that will be the undoing of it all.

What to Expect
1. '80s-influenced, super awesome soundtrack
2. Stunning cinematography
3. Atmospheric and ethereal
4. Everything was done in moderation, except for the killings

What NOT to Expect
1. Anything to be fast or even furious
Click on the Mamümeter for more info
I wouldn't go as far as to accuse anyone of false advertising, although I would understand how people might get the impression that Drive was going to be one of those fast-paced Fast & Furious-like movie with car chases that often go on for far too long. Frankly I was never a fan of such movies because they all consist of boring dialogues written around gratuitous shots of fancy cars.

I don't go to the movies to see cars goddammit! If I want to do that, I'd just get out of my house and stare at my car. Sure, there would be no Ferrari or a Nissan Skyline in sight, but it just so happens that I have no desire for such things, so who the fuck gives a shit? In fact, I might have even pass up on the chance to see Drive because of that, and what a mistake that would have been.

And I'm not just saying that because Carey Mulligan was in it...
So let's get that out of the way first. This movie was not even close to being Fast Five [2011]. There will be no scantily-clad women holding a flag, standing in the middle of the road starting races. Nobody in this movie settle their score by racing, and our hero does not fall in love with the girlfriend of his rival.

All of the driving in the movie only complemented the story and not the other way around. Think of it this way, movies like In Bruges [2008], The American [2010] and Hanna [2011] were all about contract killers and assassins, but none of them resembled movies featuring the likes of Jason Bourne or Evelyn Salt. I suppose in this case, Drive is comparable to Hanna because they took their sweet time telling the story, all the while keeping us completely mesmerised by their distinctive atmosphere, one that is reminiscent of a Stanley Kubrick movie.

Throughout this review you will find me stressing on that particular point, and I feel like I must do that because it's really the most defining attribute of this movie.

Like Hanna and My Blueberry Nights [2007], it was apparent that Drive did also put a lot of thought into the soundtrack. So much, that it was almost like a character itself, looming in the background and making us respond to it in a certain way. I don't know about you, but I ended up being in one of my brooding spells, hugging my knees and gave the movie my full attention.

Another reason for that was the screenplay didn't play down to the audience, and it will treat you with a certain degree of respect for your intelligence. What I mean by that is the movie didn't rely on the usual orgy of explosions and boobs to keep you interested.

Instead it was pretty minimalist and everything - except for the killing scenes - was done in moderation. Nevertheless the movie will keep you hooked through the skillful use of the slow camera pan, the impeccable timing of the scenes and at certain times, total silence. You see, thrillers can usually be pretty loud and they often resort to using fast-paced music (usually techno) to create tension. Drive was almost the opposite of that.

Ryan Gosling was just fantastic as the nameless protagonist. I must admit that I too had come to view him as one of those beefcake actors like Chris Evans, thanks to his role as a musclebound womaniser in Crazy, Stupid, Love [2011] but his performance in this movie made me second guess myself. Just like the movie, his character is a man of few words, sometimes not even speaking when he's spoken to. Instead, he lets his expressions and actions speak for him, and they speak rather loudly.

Pretty amazing feat, if you ask me. Playing a character who doesn't speak much yet still be interesting to watch. Had it been the likes of Orlando Bloom playing the part, we might have ended up thinking that Drive is about a stunt driver who is suffering from amnesia.

Aside from all that, I have little else to say. So allow me to recap that Drive was unlike anything we've become used to when it comes to movies that employed extensive use of stunt drivers, and it will only disappoint those who don't appreciate subtleties.

Furthermore, the movie made me feel like cuddling with someone, wrap ourselves in a blanket, and watch it in a dimly lit room on a cold night because that's exactly the kind of movie it was; Atmospheric, ethereal and if you can sit through it once, you'll find that you wouldn't mind seeing it again and again.


Zulfahmi said...

RYAN GOSLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CAREY MULLIGAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...


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