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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rath's Reviews: Drive

Go ahead and tell me that this isn't one of the most iconic film stills you have ever seen
HOT DAMN I AM EXCITED TO WRITE THIS REVIEW! WOO! HELL YES!

Ok...I think I have composed myself now. I have been anticipating Drive for a while now. I got on the hype train in September when it released in the U.S. and have been riding it hard. I even went so far as to email the theater here in Australia to acquire the movie when it released less than a week ago and they did! As some of you may know, I hype stuff up a lot. Sometimes out of proportion. But I do it because that is how you know the true gems. When you hype something up to the max you can handle, and then it still manages to blow you out of the water *cough* The Dark Knight and Inception *cough cough*. Let me tell you now:

Drive obliterated my hype. It took whatever I thought it was going to be, it took how good I thought it was going to be and put it in reverse, gunned the gas, pulled the brake, and did a 180.

I have to start off by congratulating Ryan Gosling. He honestly might have just stolen my man crush from Daniel Craig. His character, the Driver (we never get his name), is stoic...he is calm at times and at the edge of breaking at other times. And most of all, he is just plain cool. And the rest of the cast? Nearly equally as memorable. Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston (is it possible for this guy to not act well?), Albert Brooks, and Ron Perlman all do a phenomenal job.

Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling have incredible chemistry, which is amazing since they dont say much. They kind of just small talk, and Ryan Gosling stares at her. It makes for some terribly awkward scenes, but awkward in a good way. I cant describe it but it just puts a smile on your face that these two characters are attracted to each other.

"God I am so badass"
The movie starts off stronger than most in recent memory. A cool synth-beat drives the getaway scene forward and builds incredible tension. Which is funny because the scene includes a top speed of maybe 60mph. The Driver is careful, calculating, and smooth in his movements and decisions. He is yours to command for 5 minutes. Anything that happens on a minute of either side of that and hes out. I will never forget the beginning scene of this movie. And then the opening credits roll in with another synth-80's song, and I realize that this movie is trying to seduce me. This movie wants me to become infatuated with it. And that is exactly what happens.
Bryan Cranston with hair. Something I am not used to from watching Breaking Bad
Some might say the movie moves slowly, I say that you're part of the ADD generation. It's a movie like this that makes me realize how action can make an impact. Granted there is a time and place for Transformers  and Mission Impossibles, but when you have this much build up, this much trust and feelings involved in these real characters...the true action blows you away and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Drive builds and builds, its story progresses true and naturally and when that first action scene happens, damn did it hit me right between the eyes. It's because it meant more. But don't classify Drive as an "action" movie. It's smarter than that.

I really have nothing to say on this one
The action comes at you like a kick to the nuts. Its graphic, its terrifying, and most of all, its real. The Driver goes from calm to stressed in a mere few moments, and as the audience you are worried for him. But he has to do this right? It's a dynamic I have never really felt before in a movie; where you dont want the main character to kill who needs to be killed because you know it affects him. Thats what makes it all the more thrilling.

And you know what else makes it thrilling? The SPOT ON soundtrack. I'm listening to it right now and the movie is rolling through my head. Its so perfect in every scene, it makes the movie just ooze cool. This movie needs a towel for God's sake because of all the cool oozing out of its pores. I can't really describe the soundtrack accurately more than I have, just trust me. If there is one thing I have learned while watching movies, its that a soundtrack can take a good film and make it timeless. See Titanic, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Inception for proof. But for Drive, its more of the song choice that makes the difference. There are times that the song being played echoes the screen in such an accurate way, you would have thought the movie came first. I also must give credit to the cinematographer of the film. He has permanently etched several scenes into my mind-of-movie-memories forever, and it is all because of the way they were shot.

Me thinks me need this jacket
In case you haven't caught on yet, I loved Drive. Moreso than a lot of other "movies" out there these days, this is more than just a movie, it is film making. There is a reason it won best-director at Cannes. The man had a vision, and executed it perfectly on screen. The driving, the characters, the violence, the problems. The movie is so sexy, so sleek, so cool, so poetic that I just still cant grasp my head around how much I enjoyed it.

When I give a movie a 10 and deem it an instant classic, I mean that it is a film that I will remember forever. A film that affected me not just on the surface, but to my core. Drive didnt make me cry or anything, but it made me feel excited, scared, wierded out, all throughout. I have no doubt it will go down as a classic and I know that certain scenes will be iconic forever. This will be a film that when we are old and gray, and Ryan Gosling is still making movies, that we may come to remember him for. At least it will be for me.

If there is one film you go to see so far this year, make sure it's Drive.

Pros:

  •  Ryan Gosling is a bonafide star now. Such an iconic performance
  • Everyone else nails their part, specifically Carey Mulligan who I fell in love with
  • The chemistry and awkwardness between Mulligan and Gosling
  • Sense of realism that is greatly appreciated
  • Perfect. Soundtrack.
  • Sound editing is prime. Engines roar, gunshots explode, soundtrack pumps...all noise levels are where they are most effective
  • Cinematography is outstanding
  • Shocking violence with consequences, no hollow shoot-em ups to be seen here
  • Iconic movie in every sense of the word
  • That bomber jacket it so damn cool
Cons:

  • Slow in some parts
  • Underneath it all, the plot is generic
  • The fact that it had to end

Rath's Review Score: 10/10 -- Instant Classic

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