Movie #16: Drive

Can a movie be both slick and raw? Drive had a high degree of style: artful cinematography (nicely composed, with a great sense of balance; every scene could have been used for a movie poster), beautiful Baroque lighting (the night scenes had a warm-cool glow), thrilling car chases, and a curiously eclectic soundtrack (ranging from 80s-inspired ambient pop to operatic orchestration). On the other hand, it was also full of coarse characters and scenes of brutal, crunchy, bloody violence. Ryan Gosling (2011 was a really good year for him, wasn’t it?) played the archetypal strong, silent man with singular, straight-as-arrow motives. His character was an unnamed Hollywood stunt driver who also moonlighted as a getaway driver for hire. Carey Mulligan (I love her in so many things. She’s the definition of the word “cute” being used to mean “attractive”.), similar to Gosling, played a character who fit a kind of film noir archetype: the angel in Hell, the rose amidst the ashes. Her character Irene is a seemingly innocent young mother, whose husband is in prison. She and her young son run into Gosling in the elevator, and then again at the body shop where he works. After a few stolen glances and sly hand-touches, the connection between the two of them grows stronger. At the same time her son really bonds with Gosling, and he with him. The pace of the story is pretty languid. There is not a whole lot of dialogue, and there are actually many scenes where people take long pauses between speaking. The effect nicely infuses a still intensity in the movie and Gosling’s character. Nevertheless, a number of things happen: Irene’s husband gets out and before long gets involved in a robbery job (bringing Gosling along for a getaway). Events go disastrously wrong, which turns Gosling’s character into something of a vengeful spirit (metaphorically-speaking). In the end, not everything that falls apart can necessarily be put back together. This is one of those movies that I really enjoy watching, but it’s a subtle kind of enjoyment. I’m not eager to watch the film again. If you like stolid characters and you’re into contemporary, film-noir-style tragedy, this movie should be right up your alley. (4 out of 5)

16 down, 34 to go!


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