Drive (2011)

What drives you?

Drive

FilmDistrict in association with Bold Films, Odd Lot Entertainment, Marc Platt Productions and Seed Productions present…

Based on the 2005 novel of the same title, Author James Sallis made this transition from the pages to film a possible bet for the Oscars! It was like Grease (more music less the musical) meets Transporter and then it suddenly turns into Halloween’s horrific masked killer gone amok! The story had a lot more to offer not just romance, drama or action that’s because it encompasses all of them!

With an electronica 80’s vibe, throw in a bit of noir and brutality and you’ll get Drive! It pushes the envelope in a  hypnotic, high octane thrill ride that alleviates your senses getting you back on ground zero’s touching relationship between the Driver and Irene and then catapults you again in breathtaking car chases, blood and gore scenes! I really thought the opening was one of the best in a long while in heist films; it was captured appropriately showing the Driver’s ability to be very calm and collected, a keen observant in his surroundings! On a side note, the night shoot even covered Lakers and Clipper own Staples Center in the process which even mentioned “Lob Angeles” very own Mr. “High Griffinition” himself!

Having failed the driving tests eight times, Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson) was still able to give his best to let us experience one of the best adapted screenplays ever made! (you might say he’s “driven”) I was applauding the film with it’s awesome display of storytelling and delivery of characters! Together with Academy Award Nominee Hosseign Amini, he was in charge of the Screenplay which definitely hit the right tones to give the book adaptation a remarkable place in the big screen! How he delivers the transition from the book’s overwhelming and yet poignant story gives an added impression on poetry and Hosseign did not disappoint as they placed non-linear takes to give it a surreal cinematic experience! Another factor to consider was, there was not too much dialogue especially for the “Hero” and yet his actions speak louder than words! This is the next generation of collaborative partnerships between Actor and Director, seeing that another project is now under production from Nicolas and Ryan going to Thailand and finding out why “only God forgives”?

Director of Photography Newton Thomas Sigel (The Usual Suspects) used a car rig camera and a rigged helicopter to enable a wider coverage of the shots in Los Angeles as it allows Ryan to concentrate more on his acting while someone else drives the car and perform his stunts! Director Michael Mann also made the same adjustments when filming “Collateral”, the process made the film not just maintain its grittiness, darker mood with low lights and urban cityscapes but also give it genuine realism! To add, another remarkable feat was the shot from the motel where thugs gave the visceral meaning for “wetworks”, my jaw is still widely agape just thinking about it!

Rising superstar Ryan Gosling (Ides of March) in one of his finest display of characters leaving behind so many biting the dust! He only doesn’t drive proficiently; he also bare knuckle fists anyone who crosses his path if needed! It’s a film that started as a simple premise for a mechanic and stunt double moonlighting as a getaway driver by night, now how can you make someone so mild mannered from the way he carries himself and  fill that up with so much emotion and anger?

What I perceive is, he is a loner and he’s a nobody! No one pays attention to him except when he’s in front of the wheel! Shannon his employer at the garage gives him the “special incentives” which he gladly accepts but with his own conditions (Transporter anyone?) but does it so seamlessly! There are a very few actors that made it into superstardom with real honest work ethic while choosing the right projects and infuse the roles given. Johnny Depp, Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon all made the most of the right choices which placed them where they are now!

Carey Mulligan (Shame) as the single mother Irene, living with her son Benicio who contemplates on her next door neighbor and later on falls in love with him! She was able to carry the load for her troubled family and was able to bring a very nice chemistry with Ryan! Now with her husband coming out from prison all things gets blown out of proportion (both figuratively and literally)!  Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood) is Standard Gabriel (what name is this?) who owes a huge debt of money to another gangster and later got what he deserved! I find it funny he still looks no different and how it connects his villainy from another character by the name of King John from his previous film while taxing the townsfolk so heavily, now he is the one being robbed back by an “Archer” in the woods!

Supporting cast was a powerhouse coming from Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) a garage repair shop owner named Shannon! Getting some shady deals with Albert Brooks (Bad Day in the Block) is gangster and business man Bernie Rose; the guy loves only three things his “modus operandi”, his cursing and stabbing people to death! He has a partner, a Jewish Pizza Diner Mobster by the name of Nino portrayed by Ron Perlman (Acts of Violence) who makes life miserable for everyone. A veteran actor who most of the time portrays an anti-hero or a villain, very dedicated and a fan favorite considering the roles he takes especially in CBM’s!

To give it a unique look, we can see a typical love story, crime, suspense and a whole lot of groove music! Refn recommended Johnny Jewel’s previous titles “Under your Spell” and “A Real Hero” for Cliff Martinez to work on! Giving the audience not just eye candy but also ear candy! To add, the iconic satin jacket with a golden scorpion was also influenced in the era’s rock band KISS which sort of gives a subliminal value for the audience!

Overall, the film brings the conformity of moral codes set in place by the main protagonist, becoming a hero not just for the people around him but also gives him the acknowledgement to fight justice even if it means to kill! Seriously, where does the objective of becoming a murderer be in any way righteous?  It doesn’t! It only depicts on how the Driver saves lives even if it means eternal damnation or reckless abandon for his own safety! I believe it’s what you call selflessness and that is why he is alone but with integrity instilled in his inner being while he drives off into the night…

 A coin drops…a wolf’s howl…a phone rings! Catch you later, “Nightcall” is playing in my head!

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