Thursday, February 2, 2012

Drive

When a movie reminds you of another, then it could either be because of unoriginality or hopefully rather because it intentionally pays homage to a specific time in movies. In the case of Drive, it quickly becomes clear that the film consciously borrows from action films from a bygone era, but in such a way that it comes over as surprisingly clever instead of cheesily over used.

The key to Drive's success in this regard is the inclusion of small touches of nostalgia every here and there that, when experienced as a whole, plays out very satisfyingly. Clear examples of this to look out for are an amazing retro soundtrack, uncomplicated dialogue and an unusual dash of pink (as in the colour) every here and there.

A huge part of the movie's appeal however has nothing to do with old movie references but a lot with a very interesting protagonist, played by Ryan Gosling. Gosling plays the role with a noticeable sense of stillness and clam, but still manages to lend an immense amount of emotional poignancy to the film's more serious moments. But as the film's plot starts to kick into high gear, there's a clear change in Gosling's character, signalling the very intentional split between the film's first and second part. Long conversational scenes are now replaced with very graphic, but artistic action sequences that might leave more squeamish movie goers a bit unsettled.

"Long conversational scenes are now replaced with very graphic, but well realised action sequences that might leave more squeamish movie goers a bit unsettled."

A great ensemble cast that includes the very capable Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad fame manages to highlight the lighter side of Gosling's character, whilst a gang of corrupt baddies including Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman help to bring out Gosling's more aggressive personality.

With all the cheesy action film references aside, Drive feels like a very honest film as director Nicolas Winding Refn allows the story to be told in a very blunt manner. Best of all, it’s one of those films that will appeal to both casual movie goers and die-hard critics, due its highly layered demeanour that includes both a simple love story and an in-depth character study. Don't expect any rosy endings and you’re sure to appreciate this amazing 'soon-to-be a cult classic' throwback to a simpler age in movie making. 

Bad assness personified. 
Highlight: It would have been easy to choose one of the very awesome and graphic action sequences, but to be honest, I prefer the emotional intensity of Mulligan and Gosling’s scenes.