Friday, September 16, 2011

Box Office Review - Drive

Drive shares some similarities with films like Bullitt and Point Blank. What it doesn't share with these films is a similarly complex plot. Ryan Gosling plays a professional driver/mechanic who befriends Carey Mulligan's character and her son. Mulligan's husband is mixed up with some bad people, Gosling tries to fix things, and everything gets messed up. That is the basic plot of the film. This is in no way a negative, and in fact Drive is one of the best films of the year. Without having to worry about a complex plot, director Nicolas Winding Refn completely indulges in style for his first mainstream film. The result is a film that drips cool.

Since watching the film a few hours ago I have been trying to come up with a recent example of a hero that is seemingly emotionless,and hardened like Ryan Gosling's nameless character in Drive. This type of hero used to be common, and I can think of numerous similar characters from the 70s. I have been unable to come up with a recent example. This is a shame, as these types of characters, the ones that have no past and just seem to exist because the have to, can be very memorable. Gosling proves this. Without much dialogue, and very little facial expression he makes a character that is compelling and one that I could care about. The only time that Gosling does show much emotion is around Carey Mulligan's character Irene and her son. The young woman softening the heart of the hardened anti-hero isn't unique, but it works in this film like it was being done for the first time. Nicolas Winding Refn seems to revel in the relationship of Mulligan and Gosling and makes the camera linger on the happiness shown on their faces while they are together.

What makes this film so memorable, and so cool, are the little details. I am positive whether this film becomes a hit, or becomes a cult film, most people who see it will remember Gosling's jacket. Silver with a scorpion on the back, the jacket is never once mentioned in the film. It is just an article of clothing that Gosling's character has become attached to. This is a more obvious detail in the film, but I found that in almost every scene there were small memorable things.

Drive is everything I want and hope for in a film. The music is fantastic, the performances are great, and the direction is (insert great,fantastic, or both here). Nicolas Winding Refn made one of my favourite movies Bronson, and he also made the insane mind trip that I thought I would hate but actually loved, Valhalla Rising. The guy seems to be able to jump between genres with ease and will hopefully have an amazing career and get the recognition that he and his films deserve. Be warned though, if you think films like Fast and Furious are cool, this may not be for you. At the end of my screening a young guy stood up and booed loudly. I am guessing he was hoping for something that would be cool to watch. Drive is much more than that. If you really get into the film, it will actually make you cooler.

A Gold Banana

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