Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shut Up & 'Drive'

I have finally seen the most talked about movie...of last year. I always seem to come to the party a bit late. I try to see every movie in theaters, but being a college student I have to pick and choose my battles. So when I saw the "why wasn't it nominated for any Oscars" film Drive (dir. Nicholas Winding Refn) on Netflix, I knew I had to watch it.
There's no Miss Daisy in this film
The best words I can use to describe Drive are sleek and sexy, two words that could also be used to describe the film's star Ryan Gosling. There was something very modern about the film which mostly comes from the editing style and the music. The overlaying of images and dissolves from one scene to another gave the film a fluid movement that helped transition from one scene to the next. The editing style set the pacing for the movie; even though it was an action film, it moved at a slow and steady pace creating a great build up and delivering the violence when necessary. Drive just felt different from many films I have seen before.
And while it feels different, between the pink lipstick-esq credit font and music, there is something old school about Drive as well. The music was for me the best part of the film. The songs were so different from the rest of the film, soft, melodic, but with a powerful beat. The beat is what made each song work so well, there was something driving (see what I did there?) each scene, directing the unrelenting motion. With the music there was a feeling that the scenes, especially the ones of Gosling driving on L.A. highways alone at night, had gone on forever and would continue to go on. They created a great sense of contrast,  between the scenes and the images. As diverse as the song choices were they all seemed to work well in adding to the mood; through the music L.A. became a place that seemed like it came from a mix of a city from a Japanese video game and a film noir.
I loved Gosling who made a seamless transition from pretty boy love interest to dark antihero. His portrayal of the Driver, though one that required little actual speaking, was strong. His ability to portray his feelings through grunts and glances was powerful and despite the relatively strong cast he carried the film. I still really cannot decide how I feel about Carey Mulligan. I want to like her, really I do, but there is something about her that I cannot place that I just do not like. I feel like she is too stiff sometimes, maybe not believable enough. It is why I worry so much about her playing Daisy Buchanan. She too had few lines, but I felt that her performance was more one note than Gosling's. 
Overall I really liked Drive as a complete film. The one thing that marred my experience was my internet connection. Being away from school and unlimited wifi is difficult. At home there always seems to be a problem with the connection. And it was like my internet seemed to know when the best and most suspenseful parts of the film were coming. Opening scene with Gosling driving while listening to basketball? Buffering. Waiting for Standard outside of the Pawn Shop? Buffering. Hotel room with Blanche and the phone rings? Well, you get the idea. It made the viewing experience very frustrating because I had to keep refreshing the page and then had to put myself back into the action. I feel like watching the film in a theater would have been a much better experience, not just because of the lack of loading time, but also because the sound and picture would have been much bigger and better. 
I am definitely glad I watched Drive though and can now count myself among the legions of the outraged that this film did not get nominated for more awards. 
Review: Needs milk  

1 comment:

  1. Nice review,you aced it when you said " a mix of a city from a Japanese video game and a film noir."