I haven’t had a “favorite movie” to obsess over since “Garden State” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” came out a few years ago. I don’t give the tittle of “favorite movie” out lightly or often unless my mind has been blown. I don’t ever ask for DVDs for Christmas or birthdays, except for those of my “favorite movies”….Drive is one of those films.
I watched this film by Nicolas Winding Refn for the first time in November of last year and I instantly fell in love with it. Ryan Gosling plays a part-time stunt driver and garage mechanic who develops a close relationship with his neighbor Carey Mulligan, the wife of a convicted felon and mom to Benicio. Through a series of unfortunate events taking place after Mulligan’s husband is released from prison, Gosling is forced to defend Mulligan and her son from some serious criminals who are attempting to wipe off any evidence of a job gone wrong.
I have watched quite a few Gosling films in the past but he was born to play Driver. The subtleties of his body language and charisma make up for his quiet nature and reassure you that he is the good guy despite his increasingly bloody scorpion jacket. Mulligan is also brilliant in playing the sweet, innocent and vulnerable young mother which creates a startling contacts to all the horror and brutality in this film.
The cinematography is visually stunning in its simplicity and surrealism in both imagery and violence. With 80′s undertones not just with the electro/synth pop soundtrack and the purple and orange hues but also with the font used in the opening credits I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the inspiration for this film came straight out of Prince’s Purple Rain album.
I think you can tell from the other two movies I mentioned above (if you have watched them) that I really like quiet films, the ones where dialogue is not overpowering or superfluous and where there is much left to my imagination to figure out and my mind must do some mental exercises to fill in the gaps. Drive is a quiet movie, so much so that we never find out the main character’s name and we are left calling him Driver. That in itself may require some patience from the viewer. I also realize that the escalating violence can be off-putting to some people (even I had to look away a few times, yes I’m a wuss!), but please, do not let that dissuade you from watching this film. There is so much more in this movie that unites these characters beyond the violence as it is made to accentuate the beauty rather than the horror.
John got me the DVD a few weeks ago and last week I had a few friends over for “dinner and movie” and they thoroughly enjoyed it. Also the soundtrack is pretty awesome…you may want to check out songs like “Nightcall” by Kavinsky, “A Real Hero” by College feat. Electric Youth and “Under your Spell” by Desire.