Drive

2 10 2011

If you’re looking for a movie with a lot of car chases, gun fights, and explosions, Drive isn’t it. While it has those elements, it’s far from your average action movie. Instead, Drive has things like strong acting, dramatic violence, and intense staring contests.

Yes, I said staring contests. In fact, Ryan Gosling spends most of his screen time silently staring at the people around him. When people ask him questions, he either doesn’t answer, or pauses and gives them a one or two word response. If he was in a room with Mad Men’s Don Draper, I don’t think any words would be spoken.

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Gosling’s unnamed character is a Hollywood stunt driver by day and a getaway car driver at night. It’s a dangerous line of work, but it is something that he likes to do. His life revolves around cars, and it seems like it has been that way for a while. And, unlike just about any other fictional character, we get the sense that he is in complete control of his emotions.

However, Drive reveals little about the character’s past, and most of what is revealed is done so through actions, not dialogue. We are forced to play a constant guessing game to determine what the character is thinking, but I suppose that’s the point of the movie.

Some of the longest guessing games that we play with the character are during the numerous driving sequences. While there are a few intense car chases, most of the time that the movie spends in a vehicle is focused on Ryan Gosling’s face as he silently watches the world slide by around him. The impact of these scenes was often lost on me.

While there are a few good action sequences, it’s not enough to make Drive feel fast-paced. That being said, the action was so intense and well-done that I felt it deserved at least a couple more car chases or gunfights. For that reason, some people in the crowd may find Drive a bit boring.

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But as I mentioned above, Drive isn’t your average action movie, which is a fact that many audience members will appreciate. There are plenty of brainless movies in Hollywood, and this is certainly not one of them. The characters and plot are well thought-out, and there are enough lighting and framing elements to keep the film analysts in the crowd entertained.

The film also shows impressive production quality at every chance it can get. Vivid, slow motion sequences and an interesting use of music and video elements will make many scenes stick in the audience’s mind. In addition, the supporting cast of Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Albert Brooks are all very convincing in their respective roles.

If you appreciate a film with strong writing and well thought-out characters, then you will be entertained by Drive. However, if you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping movie about a getaway driver in Los Angeles, then you won’t find it here.

3.5 stars out of 5

 

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