Saturday, September 17, 2011
From the ads and trailer, you go in expecting a certain kind of movie but "Drive" turns this genre on it's head and takes you by surprise. Unfortunately I was not pleased by the "surprise". What starts out very promising quickly becomes a bad imitation of director Michael Mann's style.
Ironic for a film called Drive, it remains stuck in first gear for most of the film. There are a total of three car chases (and the last, while effective, is sloppy in it's execution). The rest of the film is filled with endless head shots of Ryan Gosling and Cary Mulligan. Scenes with no dialogue go on forever to the pulsing beat of the electronica soundtrack. Mr. Gosling's character is a total mystery (we don't even learn his name). All we know is that he is an excellent driver and has a psychotic temper when pushed. Mr. Gosling seems an odd choice for this kind of film but his cool demeanor works well for the most part. It's the ultra violent moments that just don't make sense.
The bloodshed and violent acts are so over the top, they are almost funny and after being lulled into a daze by the poor direction by Nicholas Winding Reyn, they are a jolt to the system when they occur. This was probably Mr. Winding Refn's intent to keep the audience awake.
The film co-stars Bryan Cranston, as Shannon, Mr. Gosling's boss and a far more interesting character than "The Driver" and Albert Brooks as a menacing crime lord, who has a new career playing against type. Ron Perlman plays a extremely stereotypical goon that we're either supposed to take seriously or laugh at the role as a parody. Christina Hendricks (from TV's Mad Men) has a "blink and you miss her" cameo but it's pretty memorable in it's own way. And then we come back to Cary Mulligan who sleepwalks her way through the film as Mr. Gosling's motivation.
Maybe I missed the joke and the whole film is a parody. That would explain the outbursts of laughter from the audience throughout the film. This drive goes nowhere. It's just long, boring and violent.