Thursday, September 15, 2011

Drive



The neo-noir film "Drive" is receiving a lot of attention after a dominating debut at the Cannes Film Festival and winning the Best Director prize for Nicolas Winding Refn. It can be debated what film is the best for Nicolas Winding Refn, but for me it has to be "Bronson" (2008), which also put Tom Hardy in a better light for everyone and contributed to his casting in "Warrior". The main protagonist, an unnamed Driver, in the film is Ryan Gosling who has had amazing success with "Blue Valentine" and many other Oscar worthy performances that he has been snubbed for. The supporting cast includes the beautiful Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman.

The film is based on a novella of the same name written by James Sallis in 2005. The story is a throwback tale to the film noir late 1940s that has been spiked with a pop 1980s soundtrack and modern action sequences. The story follows Los Angeles based Drive (Ryan Gosling) who during the day works in films as a stunt driver while at night he is a wheelman for hire. The Driver, who doesn't go by any other name, has one simple philosophy to his profession. If he drives for you, you give him a time and a place. He gives you a five-minute window, anything happens in that five minutes and he is yours no matter what.  A minute on either side and you are on your own.  He doesn't sit in while you're running it down; He doesn't carry a gun... He drives.

The most glaring difference between the book and the film was the romantic inclusion of Irene, performed by Carey Mulligan, who complicated the original story from being a simplistic action noir to the farce of a romantic attempt.  The film really didn't need this, which resulted in Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling staring blankly into the camera without any character development to explain why the audience should care for their relationship.

This was a difficult movie for me to review, because my initial opinion was so negative even though so many people that I respect praised the film. The pacing was all over the place and the script was lacking; requiring Nicolas Winding Refn to fill the void with stylized shots of our actors and the city of Los Angeles. The schmucky gangsters and mob clich├ęs provide some laughs, but the heart of the film is Gosling's portrayal.  I am not going to give this film the high regard others have, but I am not going to shun it either.  For me this film is the perfect example of what a 3 Quack film should be.  It is entertaining even though it has some negatives to it (mainly the script).

1 comment:

  1. The actual review here is less than a paragraph, I'd hardly say that expands upon any of your complaints.

    But to call this movie a farce because of the inclusion of the romantic bit seems excessive. It's the motivating force for the strong, silent character who barely lets the audience in at all. Those moments with the girl and the boy are him at his most humanizing. And when you have those moments, than you can buy anything else. It's not as if the violence suffered just because he got a little kiss before stomping someone's face.

    And it's a neo-noir. A noir is nothing without a few women to drive the men mad.

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