After hearing a lot of buzz about Drive over the past week or so, I finally managed to get out and see it. Having heard nothing but wonderful things about this movie, part of me wondered if it could possibly live up to the hype surrounding it. It does just that, so much so that, unfortunately, it makes me wonder why all movies can’t be this good.
As an acting student, I’d be forced to respect the movie sheerly based on its performances. Everyone feels true to character, as well as true to life, even if the film is more often than not a larger than life venture. Ryan Gosling as the nameless drivers gets something across that I’ve not seen in many quote unquote “action movies.” His character at first seems very cool and collected, if a little unwilling to play the hero, but without spoiling too much, he becomes even more interesting once he loses his grip. His at times shy, unassuming detachment might be more relatable to me personally than the world at large, but it makes him much more interesting to watch on screen. You get the idea that he’s almost as unsure of whether he truly is the cool neo-Clint Eastwood he thinks he is, or if he’s just playing at it, as we the audience are. Ron Perlman plays a hard sell of a character gracefully, and Christina Hendricks is almost unrecognizable in her role.
Amazing performances aside, I almost can’t help but marvel at the craft behind this movie. It might seem like an incredibly odd decision to start with a tense chase scene right out of the gate, only to seemingly laze into what appears to be the study of a man who has fallen for a married woman. In any other movie, I would loathe the amount of time it takes to get this point across, but here it so masterfully enables the jerk back into action to catch the viewer off guard, that I can’t help but be amazed at how well it all works together.
That’s another thing. The way this movie jerks you to the edge of your seat is at times unbelievable. In most movies, you can generally get a sense of when the next big jump will be, but not only does this movie keep you guessing for the entire second half, it refuses to ever let you guess correctly. It’s violent to the point of being hard to swallow, but it never slips into an area that is without merit. In some ways, I wish all films handled violence as capably as this movie does, but on the other hand, I’m glad they don’t, because the way this movie stands on the shoulders of other violent films is a marvel to see in itself.
An excellent soundtrack and incredible camera work are just the tip of the tip of the iceberg of positive things I could say about this movie, but it’s likely that, this review being a week late, you’ve already heard them from people in more of a position to comment on them than me. The point is, you should see Drive immediately, and if you’ve already seen it, you should see it again. This is going to be a hard movie to top this year, and it does what it does so well I’m almost concerned for it’s competition.