As one of the most appreciated film in 2011, I have to admit that it’s too late for me to enjoy “Drive” just now. Clearly, it’s surprising to know how this film could eventually made its way through as one of the nominators of Palme d’Or 2011 Cannes Film Festival (and even brought a Best Director award for Nicolas Winding Refn who was so unknown for me at that time). Yes, Cannes always brings surprises, at least for me. Haha.
From its title, we can guess that “Drive” will talk a lot about cars. The whole plot of the movie centers on an anonymous driver (portrayed so elegantly by Ryan Gosling). He worked as a mechanic in a garage while also taking a part-time job as a stuntman for some car scenes in some movies. He went trapped into troubles when he helped his neighbour, Irene (played by Carey Mulligan), who took care of his son by herself because her husband, Standard (played by Oscar Isaac), was imprisoned. The trouble got worse when Standard was freed from prison, as he was chased by a criminal gang that want to collect their money.
Wow, from the plot you may wonder there will be a lot of car-rushing scenes and cool gang fights in this film. You are right, but I have to tell you that those adrenaline scenes were taken in a very different way (or—I’d like to say—in a classy, artistic style). You’ll find so many slow scenes in the movies. Imagine a scene of the main character who was just about to blink his eyes; guess what, it almost took a two-minute duration! Alternatively, try to figure out how come a scene where the driver and Irene staring to each other could went in almost one-minute duration! (I somehow questioned myself whether the scene was a still image or what :D). The movements of the camera were incredibly meaningful, as they captured total visual scenes that somehow talked so much more than the dialog. Yes, this film talked less: all the story was transferred more in audio-visual form. You’ll also find so much mute scenes, since the main audio was replaced by some ‘grande’ music in the background.
"Hey, you want a toothpick?" -- Driver
That’s why “Drive” tends to be an artsy film, instead of a badass film like how many people have predicted. “Drive” is a real festival movie. The plot was still mesmerizing, although it was told in a bit different way. I could say that it’s a big achievement for Nicolas Winding Refn who successfully turned the screenplay made by Hossein Amini (and adapted from James Sallis’ book) into a non-mainstream yet aesthetic visual product. However, again, some viewers may find that the slow beat of the film was just exaggerating and somehow annoying. I have to admit that, regardless of the opening scene, the first half of the duration may not show you that “Drive” will went so crime and a little bit bloody (ups, spoiler!). It actually pointed out how the driver and Irene create a romantic relationship. I even made a chance to send one or two tweets in the duration to put out my sickness of the slow tempo, haha.
In the other side, the quality of the film was also supported by the acting of the casts, especially Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. I predict that one time, Ryan Gosling, just like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will make his way to Oscar and other worldwide movie awards. He was just spectacular! He had so few dialogues that he acted more by his expression and charisma. I really like how Gosling showed a personality of a honest, unexpectedly flawless, yet terrifying man. With Carey Mulligan, he established a deep, emotional chemistry in a very minimum dialog.
The conclusion is, “Drive” is an excellence. It was so cleverly made. All the classy, non-mainstream style it brought ends up as an aesthetic, meaningful, and modest cinematic product. Well, subjectively, I’m not sure if it will be appreciated by all viewers, but for me, “Drive” could show us the essential definition of a film as a fine-art product that truthfully should talk more in picture and music rather than words. Salute.
DETAILS & CREDITS
DRIVE | COUNTRY USA YEAR 2012 RATING Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language and some nudity GENRE Crime, Drama RUNTIME 100 min CAST Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks WRITER Hossein Amini (screenplay), James Sallis (book) DIRECTOR Nicolas Winding Refn BUDGET/GROSS $15,000,000 (est.) / $35,054,909 (USA per 5 Feb 2012) AWARDS Best Director Cannes Film Festival 2011, another 41 wins & 76 nominations IMDB RATING 7.9/10 METACRITIC 79/100 (Generally Favorable) TOMATOMETER 93% (Certified Fresh) MORE INFO