Movie Review – “Drive”

ff20120323a1a.jpg*This review is part of the “Now Streaming” series of reviews. “Drive” can be viewed on Crackle*

Oh yes they did.

At one point in “Drive”, about halfway through, I asked myself, “Is this movie just masturbating to itself?”. It was full of dramatic, over-the-top scenes, extreme noir lighting, and super-stylish production values. It seemed like it took itself a little too seriously.

And then this scene happened

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FYI, that kiss was preceded by the most dramatic lighting cue in cinematic history. Immediately after they kiss, Ryan Gosling smashes a hitman’s head in, WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO THEM IN THE ELEVATOR.

At that point I realized, yes, “Drive” does in fact masturbate to itself, and it doesn’t care. It will spray its neo-noir carnal action all over you.

And I was in.

Drive does what it wants, and it does it with style. And emotion.

Ryan Gosling for the win.

The movie is spearheaded by Ryan Gosling’s unnamed character, referred to as “the driver”. Ask him what he does, and he says “I drive”. He is a stunt driver for movies by day, and a getaway driver for criminals by night.

He eventually meets Irene, played by Carey Mulligan, and they spark a romantic relationship. Her husband is released from prison early, though, and the driver is wrapped up in a dangerous criminal conspiracy that requires him to use his best fighting skills, driving skills, and Ryan-Gosling-looking-dramatic skills.

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*drinking game: every time the driver looks dramatically into the distance, take a shot!*

 

*EDIT – please do not play the drinking game. The amount of dramatic Ryan Gosling looks is astronomical and you will consume enough alcohol to kill a small horse*

The driver is a seemingly awkward, troubled character. He rarely speaks; he opts to stare at his conversation partners most of the time. Whatever he did in his past, whether he was an assassin, a soldier, or a Trump 2016 staffer, it was violent and affected him deeply. Gosling shows some real subtle acting skills throughout the film, and it’s a great lesson on nonverbal acting and film acting in general.

The other characters are eccentric, fun, and believable, from Nino, the Jewish mob boss,  to Shannon, the lovable shop owner played by Heisenberg himself.

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Great Style makes for a great film.

The film’s triumph is not only in its acting but also in its production style. Its is a legitimate noir film, with all of the lighting, mystery, characters, and style to show. It is intentionally over-the-top stylish, and it has a surprising amount of emotional payoff.

SEE IT.

Strap yourself in. The movie takes a while to really start, but there’s enough style to keep you occupied until the ball gets rolling. This is a movie worth watching, and if you’re still on the fence, I’ll just leave this here.

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