45: Drive (A Gosling post!)

Drive – September 16, 2011
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman
Written by: Hossein Amini
Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn

The plot: “A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.” – IMDB

My thoughts: I have no idea what to make of this movie. I’m not sure whether I liked it or disliked it. I guess I’m just going to go stream-of-consciousness here and maybe I’ll have a clearer picture by the time I’m done rambling.

Okay, so the music in this movie was all over the place. Cliff Martinez scored this movie and it was fucking weird. I liked the music, definitely, but the timing of the music…God, was I supposed to feel unsettled throughout the entire movie? Nothing like a nice scene (although the existence of those in this particular film is debatable) juxtaposed with gloom-and-doom music. And then there was all the hip, synthpop tunes thrown in there, which I’m not even sure what to make of it.

Let’s move on to Ryan Gosling and one of the strangest leads I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. Simultaneously charming and off-putting, Gosling’s Driver (oh yeah, he doesn’t even get a name) doesn’t have much to say and has a tendency to stare and linger in doorways. Essentially, he manages to go from a driver to a murderer in a hot second (that word “hot” is used intentionally because of Ryan Gosling’s fine ass).

I’m all for the complex tough guy in movies. The guy who does some bad shit but is ultimately good despite his actions, it’s the motive or whatever. But the fact is, Gosling played it a bit weird for me. I couldn’t help thinking about what the character was like off screen? Did he say a god damn thing or did he just keep that toothpick in his mouth and half-smirk and stare? Or was he chatty Cathy sometimes? Where did he come from? Where did he go?

Drive was undoubtedly nice to look at. The colors were bright and beautiful and one of the final close ups of Gosling was gorgeous. I think I was even holding my breath trying to figure out what the hell was going on. The driving looked good and was just enough to keep me interested but not so much that I couldn’t believe what was going on.

I couldn’t help but thinking it was like David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, and an offbeat 80s director decided to make a movie and this was the result. It has a decidedly retro feel to it and yet it’s gory and unsettling with a touch of humor and a sad, looking feeling. The way the trailer presents the movie isn’t at all how it really is, so anyone hoping to see Ryan Gosling driving fast cars and making out with Carey Mulligan are in for a rude awakening because it just isn’t that kind of movie.

I think, ultimately, I enjoyed it. It was different than I expected and I feel like I still wanted a bit more from the story and the characters, but it had an interesting tone, it was a unique story, and it was visually appealing.

God this was the most boring review ever. Sorry.

Stars: 3/5

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One thought on “45: Drive (A Gosling post!)

  1. I loved this movie!

    I just thought it was a very well made film where a lot of the tension and emotion was achieved through directing rather than editing.

    I listened to a really good interview with Nicolas Winding Refn on a podcast (Q&A With Jeff Goldsmith), and he said he saw the movie as a sort of fairy tale. Like in Grimm’s Fairy Tales, when the time comes for people to get punished, things become incredibly violent. When you look at Gosling’s character as a knight figure, it makes a lot of sense. Refn also had very interesting things to say about his use of pop music. You should check it out! (This podcast and his other podcast (Creative Screenwriting Magazine) are two of my favorites even though I think Jeff Goldsmith, the host, is sort of a douche.)

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