Drive (2011) Review | Jamie Daily

Drive (2011)
84th Academy Awards 2012
4/5 Stars
Nominated for 1 award.
Nominated for Sound Editing (Lon Bender, Victor Ray Ennis).
Watched March 9, 2013.


I hated Drive the first time I saw it.  There are still aspects about it that I really dislike, but one thing that you have to realize from the very beginning is that although what is happening on screen can become very chaotic, the edit is very slow, which can create distance between the audience and the film.  At the same time, as my second time viewing this picture, I had a lot more affection for Ryan Gosling’s character.  He is quiet and shy but he knows how to take care of himself and others.  He has a stare that could kill you, or melt your heart, and he decides when to use either.  He also uses his silence to his advantage–it provokes others to talk and to divulge things they otherwise might not.


Gosling’s character does not have a name.  He is the Driver, who by day drives stunts for the movies and might be making a break into the racing world, but by night he drives for criminals.  The beginning of the film introduces you to his amazing skills, both day and night, and most notably presents the film’s amazing eighties soundtrack that sometimes overpowers what is happening on screen and communicates an other-worldly frame of thought.  When the Driver meets the woman down the hall and is semi-forced into knowing her (because who can ignore a woman and her son when their car breaks down in the parking lot of your grocery store), the music takes on such an intensity that you are sure Driver and Irene (Carey Mulligan) are going to fall in love.


It is an interesting character study/love story from the beginning, but about 45 minutes in, things get real crazy.


The storyline reminds be of Bullhead.  It seems like it should be soley a character study, but so many other things get thrown in that the intent gets a little muddled.  Drive does this more successfully than Bullhead, because Driver’s character arch is more consistent with everything that happens, but the last hour or so seems almost like a completely different movie from the beginning.  Why he makes the choices he does makes complete sense, because of the affection he feels for Irene and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos), but at the same time, things get a little out of hand and it makes you wonder what kind of guy Driver really is.


Again, the film is slow, and definitely almost overly-graphic.  It isn’t graphic in a Quentin Tarantino kind of way, but graphic in an “if we were actually in this situation this is exactly what it would look like” kind of way.  Despite these aspects, the film is so technically well done that it is a filmmaker’s dream to watch and analyze, whether or not they see it more than once in their lifetime.


If you have love for Gosling or Mulligan, or affection for Tarantino (although Nicolas Winding Refn directed Drive), or even a love for studying film as a whole, this might be a good one for you to watch.  However, if none of these things appeal to you, I would suggest that you stay away from this watch.

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