Drive (2011)

It’s about time that I review a movie.

A quietly gripping, equal mix of the independent and mainstream, Drive is outrageously violent and sometimes explosive, but also paints a portrait of its setting and characters, one that doesn’t offer explanation or meaning, but instead relies on body language, actions, images and, in many cases, silence. Although it is only a loose adaptation of James Sallis’ book (and therefore an absolute butchering of aspects of the story), Drive captures the essence of what makes the character Driver a calm observer, out of place and alone, yet dealt the necessary tools to handle business and the knowledge of right from wrong.

Ryan Gosling makes the ideal fit as his take on Driver’s rather withdrawn persona strikes a nerve, one that makes it difficult to decipher him good or bad, regardless of his intentions.

While it seems like matters are complicated, the issues in Drive that keep the plot moving are rather straight-forward. The story is bare, but then again it’s not a story about a ‘story’, but more-so a story about characters who come into and out of the reclusive Driver’s life.

The care and stylization that goes into character development stems entirely from borderline pretentious delivery in the form of lingering, wordless exchanges, musical overlays and slow motion. The surrounding lifestyle and areas are glamorous even when the life Driver’s living isn’t.

Ultimately, Drive is a difficult adaptation to make even when blanks are filled in and characters’ backgrounds are twisted around. The most important aspect, Driver, is captured perfectly; almost like poetry, a tragedy in motion, empty by isolation of his own choosing, whose background could not make the smooth transition to film, but can be assumed anyways.

Rating: 9.5

The electronic ’80s pop theme fits the movie to a tee. I felt like trimming my beard into permanent stubble (I did), rocking a toothpick and going out for a nightly drive.

  1. kianys said:

    Interesting to see, that you liked it. I heard a lot of great things, positiv reviews about it and I was really excited to see it, unfortunately it didn’t grip me (not sure why, but I never got into it) – Actually I never made it through the entire movie – I think I stopped watching after about half an hour.

    Maybe I should give it another try

  2. Phoenix said:

    Great review. I was fascinated by Drive. Enjoyed the feel of the film & the slow build but had to hide behind my hands for the violent parts!

  3. Melanie said:

    I think it helps for someone to have patience going into this film. It’s slower paced, and when the violence gets going, it’s brutal, quick and visceral. My heart was beating so fast during some scenes. 😛 Beautiful movie with beautiful scenes, I really enjoyed it and think it deserves several watches. I just cannot wait to read the book. 🙂

  4. Amy said:

    I find the reaction to Drive to be very polarized. People either LOVE it so much that it’s on their list of “Top 5 movies of 2011” or they hate it so much that they simply don’t understand how anyone can give it a rating that’s above “mediocre”. (I’m in the latter category :-/)

    I think I went in with the wrong expectations. I haven’t read the book so I imagined it would be a typical car-chase film filled with action; as opposed to a film about the Driver who in all honestly wasn’t that exciting. Sure, the character development is great – but even so, it isn’t a character that I would like to know more about because he is more aloof than interesting… too hidden in my opinion.

    It left me confused. I just remember thinking “WTF” all the time. It also didn’t receive that many Oscar nominations (It had one for technical sound or something) but yeah, quite a surprise to most critics.

  5. Good review!

    Drive is one of my favourite films of 2011. It certainly was a lot slower paced than the trailers would have you believe, but the pacing was deliberate and effective. It added to the surreal, dream-like quality of the experience. The first act plays like a dream, but quickly turns into a violent nightmare with a single line (one of the more badass movie threats I’ve heard in a while). Just what is this driver capable of? He’s a complete enigma. You know him entirely through his actions, which constantly leave you guessing.

    It’s also a very beautifully shot film with a great deal of depth to the scenes. Watch for the exit sign that symbolically hangs behind the driver, taunting him in the hallway scenes, or the blue, nightly skies in the windows behind him, contrasting the orange, angelic glow behind Irene.

    How was the book? The movie was just so…cinematic, that I can hardly imagine it in another medium.

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