Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Movie Review: Drive

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Wow, this ...this was a movie I wasn't expecting. You anticipate something pretty bold when the coloring of the titles is fuchsia. Based on the previews I thought it would have been a high powered action movie, something along the lines of The Fast and The Furious. Boy was I wrong. I would call this a minimalist action thriller heist movie, sort of a laid back, chill, toned down action movie. When engagements occurred, it was not over the top, but it could be extremely intense. They were presented with a confidence about themselves that it came across as cool. So cool in fact that the main character played by Ryan Gosling didn't even have a name...in the credits he was listed by his profession which was being a Driver and his whole point was to Drive.

Drive Movie Poster
The opening sequence was a chase sequence but it was a zen, intelligent chase sequence. No whooping, no hollering, no loud annoying screeches, no cars flipping over and taking out pedestrians or other cars. There was a simplicity about what The Driver did, how he performed and kept his wits about him. The Driver maintains this level of composure while dealing with traffic, lights and the ensuing police cars.

By day The Driver is a mechanic and a stunt driver. At night he’s behind the wheels of the getaway vehicle with the rules that you have a five minute window. He’ll do everything for you during those five; outside of those five, you’re on your own. Pretty cut and dry, straight forward rules. That’s about all he says to his clients allowing himself to keep emotional distance between him and them, not getting caught up in their plans.

So what’s the driving point of the story? Well, he meets his next door neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio. They seem to hit it off and become friendly all the time keeping dialogue to a minimum. Oh and by keeping the dialogue to a minimum I don’t mean they are exploring the physical side of the relationship. Far from it. The Driver, Irene and Benicio enjoy spending time together almost as if The Driver is extending himself for a relationship that he either can’t have or wouldn’t allow himself to have due to his profession. The backstory for the driver is very limited only learning a small fragment from Shannon (Brian Cranston), the shop owner at The Driver’s place of employment when Irene brings in her car for repair.

Fairly quickly it’s revealed that Benicio’s father, Standard (Oscar Isaac), is in prison and to be released shortly. Unfortunately, Standard can’t seem to get away from the gang life and in doing so pulls in The Driver. From here out is where the intensity of the action gets moved up a few pegs. Unlike most action movies today it wasn’t a constant barrage of in your face. It was quiet. Something happens, maybe vicious or brutal for just a moment or so and then it goes back to quiet. My audience had an audible “argh” and “ugh” at a couple displays which is why the movie has an R rating for strong brutal bloody violence, language and some nudity. Most of the movie is pretty tame but when those scenes happen, you might squirm a bit in your seat. But, all in all, the movie ended its 100 minute run on a calm, quiet note with no easter egg, just the vivid fuchsia letting flashing on the screen.

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