So as I was leaving the theater after seeing Drive, I was walking behind this 20-something dude with a backwards baseball hat and a Tap-Out shirt. I did some harmless eavesdropping, and he said to his girlfriend “That was horrible, they should have focused more on the racing part or something. What was that? Just awful…” Buddy, I hear ya. And by that, I mean you’re reenforcing my theory that most people with backwards hats are mindless dolts . I was happy I didn’t agree with this guy. Unbearably happy. Turn that hat around! I mean, c’mon man, this movie had a ton of great driving sequences, and I don’t even remember how many death scenes there were (and they were all pretty brutal). And it still wasn’t enough for this schmuck. I wonder what it looks like inside this guy’s head:
Such beautiful nuance.
I go to a lot of movies. Like every weekend. More often than not, the films are constructed in a very standard way. Shots are rarely used for visual stimulation, but more so as the only option available for moving the story along. Then there are movies like Drive. They don’t come along often, but when they do, it’s a welcome change from the mundane theater experience. The camera isn’t a tool for getting things done, but more as a paintbrush on a canvas. Each shot is a brush stroke that can be observed in its own right, in detail, while still forming the bigger picture. The final image may be simple, but with open-minded observation, the whole thing becomes so much more by focusing on the smaller elements. Whoa. That crap was deep.
Drive took the time and effort to be unconventional in its approach. And I appreciate that. Drive was violent and bloody enough that my parents would hate it. It’s also artsy enough that Johnny Keg-Stand will feel uncomfortable admitting it was good. “What’s with all these quiet scenes of mood? Why isn’t he in his stock car?”. This probably won't live up to your expectations if all you want is an action movie. More art house than action. But it has its spurts of fantastic adrenaline, though. Ryan Gosling referred to it on Conan as a violent John Hughes movie, "Pretty in Pink, but with head smashing. In case you wanted to see that."
Great soundtrack/music score as well. A nice ode to 80s films, from the synthesizers to the hot pink opening credit text, while also capturing the theme of alienation and cool style of 70s films. Whole cast is very good at what they do - Gosling, Albert Brooks (haven't seen him in a while), Bryan Cranston, Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman. Christina Hendricks is there too. Just being Christina Hendricks. She should be in more, if not all movies.
In the year filled with acceptable, yet merely above average films that is 2011, I think Drive is a great work. My favorite film of the year so far. 9 out of 10.
Here's the trailer, but I don't think it accurately portrays the tone, pacing, or greatness of it. To be honest, it's also kind of spoilery, not so much on the plot points (though it does do that a little), but it spoils some of the film's neat cinematography. I didn't watch the full trailer for it before I saw the film, and I'm happy I didn't. Several great moments might have been jeopardized now that I see it afterwords. But hey, here it is anyway, in case you've never heard of it at all or something.