My friend Matt was making those loud, short gasps that usually come from sprinting, or climbing too many stairs. With my peripheral vision I could see his arm were stretched out, and the girl next to me had taken shelter in her scarf. She was using it to shield herself for what she thought was about to happen. I kinda wanted to look at them fully, but I didn’t dare take my eyes off the screen.

That’s how intense this movie was.

After walking about a block outside of the theater, I unconsciously let out a heavy sigh. Matt called me out on it. “I guess I just had to release some of the pressure that movie built up” was my response. There are two main forces that built up that intensity in the film. One was Ryan Gosling and his quiet, yet continuously hand crackling ways. The other was the score.

I mistakenly thought Clint Marshall had done this score, when in fact it was Cliff Martinez.  The score had reminded me so much of the Pi score I just assumed it was the same guy.  I haven’t yet seen Contagion, but I’m almost tempted to see that film just to hear the score Mr. Martinez puts to that.  Honestly, the last score that got my belly so tangled up in knots was Inception.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn really got the best possible crew together on this one.  Between the score, the amazing cast, and the cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel, the film is a must see.  Seriously, lighting on this film will be taught in film school classes someday.  I loved all the ‘heavenly’ spot light moments that slowed the film down just enough to catch your breath.  Gorgeous, just gorgeous.

Lastly, I never read the book that this film is adapted from.  Hell, I didn’t even know it was adapted from a book until a couple days before seeing the film.  I only really even mention that it was adapted from a book because some douchebag was talking about it on my bus ride home.  I was minding my own business reading A Clash of Kings, when I heard this girl and her boyfriend mention Ryan Gosling.  I’m all about eavesdropping, so I listened in.  I didn’t catch much since they were about to get off, but the girl said something about the movie being ‘too Hollywood, too stylized’.  “There was just so much more in the book”.  Here’s my gripe to this chick. First, if you knew anything about Hollywood you would know this movie is the opposite.  There was no sex, the violence shown was true to nature and incredibly violent, shit even the car crashes were quick and realistic.  Yes, the movie was stylish, but let’s face facts.  Hollywood hasn’t made an incredibly unique and stylish movie in awhile.  And there is always more in the books, life sucks that way.  I usually get sad about film adaptions too, but every now and then a film comes out that gets what was at the core of the book.  Let the Right One In was that way.  Game of Thrones is that way.  There is SO much more in those books, but the adaptations got the core right.  I have a feeling this movie did the same.

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4 thoughts on “Drive

  1. Kevin says:

    Great review.

    As far as the movie being “too Hollywood” or whatever, I think the filmmakers were playing with movie superficiality and violence — I think there’s so much to unpack with the Driver wearing the stunt-man mask when he goes after the Ron Perlman mob guy.

    Also, I love that there’s a layered joke when Albert Brooks’ character says that when he made action movies some critics called them “European” but the films were “shit.” And I’ve seen a few critics call DRIVE “European” without irony.

    I’m interested in reading other books by the guy who wrote the DRIVE novel. I saw someone compare his writing to Jim Thompson and David Goodis — so I was sold!

    • Wendy says:

      I completely agree with how great all the side jokes the filmmakers made were. Well, maybe not ‘jokes’, but sly pokes and inside jabs.

      …and Albert Brooks’ line about how his films were “European” may have been my favorite of the movie. Not that there was that much talking in the movie. Another thing I really liked about the movie was how silent it was.

  2. MrNoMoniker says:

    This movie reminded me of Elephant or that Sofia coppola movie about the actor and his daughter (or really any Sophia Coppola movie) with all those long scenes of people looking at stuff or each other without talking. I thought that contrasted nicely with the really excessive violence.
    The font on the credits and the music was weirdly 80s, which I liked, but got really sick of that ‘real human being / hero’ song.

    • Wendy says:

      HAHAH! My friend Matt and I had the same discussion about that song. It was a little to literal for me. We really didn’t need he characters spelled out for us in song. AND it was insanely catchy….we kept singing it for awhile after the movie.

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