Sunday, September 18, 2011


This weeks offerings seemed a bit weak to me, nothing really stood out for me, but I was intrigued by the trailer for Drive. I couldn't tell if it was just another action flick like the Transporter or was there something more to it than that. The score for the trailer seemed to be a bit odd but the film felt like they were going for a solid high-brow action thriller. The other choices was a brutal re-make of the already controversial and brutal film from the 70's, Straw Dogs. Some really obnoxious flick about Power Moms with the very annoying Sarah Jessica Parker and the re-release of Lion 3D!! I took the youngster to see Lion King yesterday in, thankfully, non-3D. He really loved it and it still looked pretty good up there on the big screen. I had heard that the 3D-ification didn't go over as well with audiences although you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at the box office. It looks like it's on its way to 30 million or so. So that's all your going to get out of me about the Lion King, no review needed for that one. As for Drive, I'm still not sure what to think of the film. It wasn't terrible but I didn't really love it all that much. Again that score just baffled me, it felt like opening a time capsule and pulling out some rejected 80's score from flicks like Manhunter or Thief or something. I'm not so sure if it worked.
They seem to be going for a Clint Eastwood western motif with this guy, I honestly couldn't remember his name but IMDB calls him Driver so I guess he's the Driver with no name. Anyway Driver (Ryan Gosling), is a man of many parts. He's a stunt-driver, a mechanic and in his off-hours he acts as a getaway driver for anyone who can pay. All of his jobs, legal and illegal, are provided by his loser mentor, Shannon (Bryan Cranston). Shannon lines up a job for him with some shady dudes in the Jewish Mafia; Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks, yes that Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman). Honestly I would have never believed that Albert Brooks could pull off a tough guy but he holds his own pretty well here. He isn't inherently a tough guy but he whacks a few guys convincingly enough. So our Driver also is trying to get to know his pretty neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son Benicio. He finds out she's got a loser husband (Oscar Isaac) who just got out of the clink and is in trouble already. The guy owes some heavy hitters a butt load of cash which of course he cannot pay. They threaten his wife and kid and this is where the Driver decides to get involved. He tries to help the young couple by doing a job to get the husband out of debt but things go south, of course, and the Driver has to steer the ship before they all careen off a cliff.
There were some good performances here, but I swear the director, Nicolas Winding Refn, was way too determined to make this one-note action thriller into some kind of masterpiece. Unfortunately it wasn't, not even close. The cinematography was gorgeous they got a lot of mileage out of that for sure. But that score, oh man, that score was something dreadful. It totally took me out of it. It completely reminded me of those terribly shitty 80's synth tracks. Just really awful. Also I'm really getting sick of these films that are considering themselves "Art house" films with the long annoying pauses and the long stares as if were supposed to get that these characters have some kind of connection that unfortunately doesn't exist. Just stop it, this isn't the 70's anymore, there were only a few filmmakers who could make that shit work and this Refn guy is not one of them. Gosling was ok, but he seemed a bit out of his element, and I just didn't understand his motivation for anything we don't know anything about the guy when it starts and we barely know much about him when it ends. He cares a lot about Irene and her son but I'm still not 100% sure why. He can also apparently be extremely brutal when he needs to be and he seems to know his way around firearms and knives. They never say if he was some former special forces guy or has some dark past, nothing. He's just apparently a really good Driver who, if you cross him, can fuck you up with whatever weapon is lying around.
I would say see this film at your own risk. If your looking for explosions and a fun slick script. This isn't it and you are going to be seriously disappointed. Its actually more like a souped up Indie film with some pretty graphic action scenes and a lot of awkward pauses.

Grade: 2 Buckets


Watch Drive Movie said...

I don't know why you are in confusion about Drive but I like the movie Drive. This is an action movie with a good story. Those who like action movie Drive is for them.I really like the first half of the movie,second half bit slow. I recommend to watch this movie.

Jeff said...

I wasn't in any confusion about the film. I just didn't love it as much as some of the critics. I didn't like the score and I thought it was trying to compensate for a lack of script with a more artsy style of film making. I'm not saying it's a terrible film. Just, in my mind, a mediocre one.