Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive"

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Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive"

Post by Deviss on Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:55 pm

"How 'bout this... You shut your mouth. Or I'll kick your teeth down your throat and I'll shut it for you."

  • Story: Four and a half Stars
  • Acting: Four and a half Stars
  • Directing: Five Stars
  • Visuals: Five Stars
  • Overall: Four and a half Stars

As I was walking home from the post office a few days ago, having finally received "Drive" through Netflix, I tried to recall how I managed to come across this gem of a movie. Either it was a product of browsing through MovieWeb or YouTube or, and this is the more likely option, I ended up seeing it because of a friend's recommendation. Another thing I've been trying to recall is how long ago I last sat down and watched this movie. After mulling it over for a couple hours, I'd say it has been at least a year and a half, if not two full years. Despite that amount of time, this movie is still as entertaining the second time around as it was the first.

---

Working as a stuntman and mechanic by day and moonlighting as a very specific getaway driver by night in Los Angeles, a mysterious man of few words (Ryan Gosling) meets Irene (Carey Mulligan) and later her young son, quickly forming a bond with the pair. Soon after meeting Irene's husband who was just released from prison, the driver agrees to help Irene's husband with a job, soon finding himself entangled in trouble that threatens to destroy all of what he has grown to love.

Where, oh where to start with a movie like this? I suppose with the movie's leading man. Ryan Gosling... Most people would hold the "The Notebook stigma" against him, but being someone who hasn't ever sat down and watched that movie in its entirety, I have no such intentions. While I could, to a degree, understand how some people could make that sort of connection, having finally rewatched this movie I can easily say that there is no measure of similarity between "Drive" and "The Notebook". Where there were plenty of tears in the latter, there is plenty of blood in the former. Thankfully the violence, much like the action and romance, wasn't dealt in a gratuitous way. In fact, one of the things I liked the most about "Drive" was the fact that there wasn't the obligatory "You saved me and my son, now let's have sex" scene.

Not to forget the usage of slow motion, which, depending on the scene in question, made what was being seen even more impactful and striking. While I won't spoil what happens in the movie, those who have seen it can attest to a certain scene involving Christina Hendrick's character of Blanche and a motel bathroom. As well as a later scene that involved Driver, Irene, a hitman and an elevator. Both of those scenes could have very easily been ham-fisted scenes which provided little to no meaning while saying, "Look! We have violence! Aren't you glad you wasted your money on this?" And while both of those scenes were gruesome, they both showed just how far the character of the Driver was willing to go to protect what he cared about.

In addition to the story and visuals, the music that was used in "Drive" was just as wonderfully different. The song played in the movie's opening scenes for instance, "Night Call" by Kavinsky featuring Lovefoxxx is something I haven't ever heard before but the moment it began playing I loved it. As I recall, as soon as I was done watching "Drive" for the first time I went onto YouTube and found "Night Call" as soon as I could. It's been in my iTunes library ever since. As well as "A Real Hero (feat. Electric Youth)" and "Tick of the Clock".

If it wasn't clear enough by now, I thoroughly enjoyed Ryan Gosling's performance. Throughout the movie's duration, Gosling was intense, violent, and caring in equal but appropriate measure. The romance between him and Mulligan was genuine and believable, as was the relationship between Driver and Irene's son, Benecio. Everyone else... well they did what was needed of them and little else. The only complaint I have about Oscar Isaac's character is his first name. Who the hell names their son "Standard"? I mean seriously? I know we didn't get any sort of backstory, which was probably a good thing, but his parents must've been drunk out of their minds when he was born.

One thing that I've noticed recently, and maybe this is just conjecture, is how similar this movie and Gosling's upcoming "The Place Beyond the Pines" looks. The only real difference, at this moment, is that Gosling's character in the latter movie has a lot more tattoos than Driver.

In the end, "Drive" is a very good, very different movie that I would recommend to most anyone. As I think about it again, there was a nice bit of symbolism with the movie's ending. Throughout the course of the movie, Gosling's Driver wears a white jacket with a golden scorpion sewn on the back. All I'll say is that by the film's ending Driver lives up to that creature's reputation.

This was a review by tMG, thank you for reading.

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive"

Post by frang on Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:34 am

Haven't seen it. I avoid car chase movies for the most part. I like car chases inside good movies (Ronin is an example), but I dislike movies where the car chase is the movie. Whether this is a true description of the movie or not doesn't matter, that's how it was advertised when it came out. If you tell me it isn't, well, this wouldn't be the first time a bad advertising campaign has misrepresented a movie.

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive"

Post by Denjie on Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:35 pm

I've thought about seeing it, and the local video store has it in stock. I might just get it after all even if only to see it once.

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive"

Post by Deviss on Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:40 pm

frang wrote:If you tell me it isn't, well, this wouldn't be the first time a bad advertising campaign has misrepresented a movie.
Well then, let me tell you that definitely isn't the focus of the movie. That was one of the funny commentaries I read before typing this out; I can't remember how said it but someone involved with "Drive" said, "Come to think of it, there really isn't much driving." I'd definitely recommend you try and see it.

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive"

Post by frang on Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:03 pm

Thanks, Dev, I will.

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive"

Post by Denjie on Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:57 pm

Saw it, like it. The quiet, protective, do-it-my-way attitude was played well. As Dev has mentioned, there really isn't much driving around. I'm definitely becoming a Ryan Gosling fan.

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive"

Post by Deviss on Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:05 pm

Denjie wrote:I'm definitely becoming a Ryan Gosling fan.
Then I would definitely recommend you check out "The Place Beyond the Pines", if you can. It's in limited release, so, unfortunately, it's likely that I'll end up seeing it through Netflix, but it does look quite good. Especially because of the storyline that is suggested of the actions of the father affecting the life of the son.

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