Thursday, September 29, 2011

Drive


  Ryan Gosling plays a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver in this new dramatic thriller from director Nicolas Winding Refn.

  Drive is very atmospheric which right away draws you in, showing that its pure movie. Its not setting out to defy conventions, it just does. I found myself immersed in this movie, firstly by Ryan Gosling's terrific performance, and secondly by the way it flowed.
Lots of movies let scenes run on too long and that extra time is filled with dumb predictable dialog; Drive never loses control of its scenes nor does it let them slip into cliche either.
It does however place more emphasis on character and emotion than action and dialog.
I love that. Its a dramatic emotional piece first. An action/thriller movie is somewhere in here, but its a necessity of the story.  Never the other way around.

  You can feel the emotions on display in this movie. The tension is palpable. The romantic sub plot is beautifully realized without the need for physical affirmation that dips into vulgarity.
It never goes there.  Sometimes there are these long silences that appear to be just a scene dragging on too long, but more is happening in these moments than in the most action packed parts.
You can see characters, most frequently our protagonist, thinking about things, assessing the situation. He looks distant, yet you can tell he's calculating everything, not skipping a beat.

Its rounded out with an excellent supporting cast finding the perfect actor for each role, injecting undeniable believably into it. 
The chemistry between the lead and his romantic interest is utterly amazing.
It doesn't have the archaic need to push their relationship forward and develop it with clunky and obligatory dialog or insulting bedroom scenes. Its not forced. Its feels natural, and that along with everything else about this movie is refreshing.
I loved this movie.
 
  With the awesome soundtrack, including songs by Desire, College, Kavinsky and more, it has a very 80's retro feel to it.  A friend of mine on a forum I frequent pointed out that Drive is practically an exploitation film.  Much like the drive-in fodder of the 70's and then into the early 80's.  Its a fresh spin on a classic notion. Its for all intents and purposes a 'carsploitation flick'. Pack a couple more uber-violent scenes into the back half, and all you'd be missing is film grain and cigarette burns.  As it is, Drive may lack some aspects of what make exploitation movies such a blast, but its hard to not see the connection once its pointed out.  And some may call it slow and say it has pacing issues, but I beg to differ. Stuff is happening from the go. Its not always a car chase or a fight, but these characters are being developed, we're seeing who they are. Plot and story are being laid out and built up. And all the action movie tropes aside, there is a beautiful movie here.

  If you can't appreciate that, then Drive probably isn't for you. But if you've read thus far and are still interested... give it a shot. You probably won't regret it.

  Its always beautiful, endlessly stylish, oh-so sleek and when it needs to be... very very violent.
But it never lets its style overpower its substance which is always balanced perfectly.
Lots of movies can't find that balance and end up sacrificing one for the other.
It also doesn't let the action dominate the runtime. This isn't The Transporter.
Drive is classy and emotional, hardly a typical action movie. But it does have action.
It juggles scenes of brutality with scenes of beauty and gentleness.
If anything Drive finds the perfect balance with all of this.
Perfect.

Excellent movie. Not to be missed.

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  The art in the banner above is by the incredibly talented James White.
You can visit his site here.
And his Facebook page here.
The full poster definitely deserves a look. As does his other work.
Pay his site a visit you won't regret it.