Drive (2011)

Posted: September 28, 2011 by tmepost in Movies, Previews, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

By David Burrola

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Release: September, 2011

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Brian Cranston, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac

Rating: 5/5 Full price by my vote

 A part time stunt driver, part time getaway driver gets a hit on his head after a job goes wrong.

This movie is intense. I know that’s a real buzz word, but its accurate in its usage.

Our movie starts with our unnamed hero(Ryan Gosling) telling someone on the phone his very rigid rules, then promptly leaving the cell phone on a hotel bed, he leaves for the meeting point. After the job is done, the getaway is much different than i’ve ever seen done in film. He doesn’t just speed off avoiding the cops at each turn, hitting other vehicles and making snappy remarks, or even destroying anything. He’s calm, quiet and resolute with his knowledge and skill in driving. He’s listening simultaneously to a police channel to avoid detection, and to a sports game for apparent reasons that he’s a fan. With several twists and turns in the long opening scene of the getaway, we actually find out why he’s listening to the game, and then where he goes from there.

 This makes up much of the feeling of the whole film. There are long stretches of calm and serene moments of life, silence and just body language. Then BAM! -explosive action/ultra violence. And yeah, when it gets violent in this movie, it goes to shock you.

 Our hero/Driver comes to a new place and solemly goes about his days speaking as little as possible. He’s seen on a set doing a stunt in a car effortlessly and almost as if its walking to him. Nothing special, just a few steps on the sidewalk. We also see him with a man excited to see his good work, Shannon(Brian Cranston) is a mechanic that also collects cars and uses many for movie stunts and the Driver is his go to man. While living at his new building, he befriends a woman Irene(Carey Mulligan) and her son 2 doors down and affectionately spends time with them. He never complains or asks for anything from them, he’s just content to be with them.

 More of the film spends time with our Driver getting closer with Irene, and his boss Shannon’s big goal of making our hero a race driver. Shannon, however, needs money to back him and asks his old friend Bernie(Albert Brooks) to lend him money. Bernie also seems to have another associate, Nino(Ron Perlman) an Italian restaurant owner who looks to be overwhelmingly sleazy and criminal. We also find out that Irene’s husband is in prison, but is being let out from his sentence.

While it seems like a romance won’t continue Standard Gabriel(Oscar Isaac), Irene’s husband is in some trouble and needs to do a job. He asks the hero for help they do a job, with our hero/driver giving his same rigid rules to the gangster that is bullying Standard. When the job goes wrong, thats where things get violent. Real violent.

 Up until this point the driver has been an almost mute character. He hardly speaks, mostly looks on and really tends not to care what other people seem to view him as. His presence only seems to matter when he wants it to. Until then, he’s almost invisible to people. But when he’s riled, he’s a focused raging beast. He constantly wears a white windbreaker jacket with a gold scorpion on the back for when he’s doing illegal jobs, and that fits his persona well. He resolutely goes about what he does with unnerving focus, but seems go rage and kill in a brutal fashion when something precise would do. He’s precise at driving, but when he needs to kill, it gets vicious and savage.

 From here, he turns the tide on the people putting a hit out on him, if only because he’s seemingly more dangerous than they are because he now has something he’s fighting for and a true cause.

 When in for the screening for this film, we where introduced to the film by the director who said his aim was to re-think the way a person becomes a hero. Its done here in the way that a real person might actually do it, someone who’s always out for their own and who’s afraid of nothing in this world. He’s almost mythical in his mental approach to danger and life, but he’s also very simple. He doesn’t need much and never asks for more.

 While many have done something like this before, by having a seemingly selfless hero with no name protect those who need it, this is more personal and much more visceral. Gunshots crack your ears by killing silence as it would in real life, and all the sounds of the car chases and even the staging is much like older movies from the 70’s. Not in that they show so much of the cars from longer shots, but that its much more realistic and involves driving techniques that can actually be used. The whole film presents itself with a brutally serene and explosively savage beauty to life when it turns ugly and how it can also be made wonderful again with resolve.

 If you’re not squeemish about violence and don’t have a problem with drastic changes in sound volume this movie is worth your watch. Its also worth it just for the sight of someone not using crappy lines and exaggerated physical acting. Full price by my vote.

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