STUDENT MOVIE REVIEW: DRIVE
“If I drive for you, you give me a time and a place. I give you a five-minute window, anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours no matter what. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down; I don’t carry a gun… I drive.”
These are the words of the enigmatic main character in Drive. He has no name, no past, and, presumably, no future goals or aspirations. By day he works as a stunt driver in Hollywood, and as a mechanic at a small auto repair shop. By night he puts his supreme driving skills up for hire. No questions. No names. No drama. He is simply what the aforementioned quote explained: a driver. No more, no less.
The driver, played by Ryan Gosling, is absolutely fearless,
both as a stunt driver and as a chauffer for criminals involved in shady operations. He is, however, seemingly unconcerned with the kind of dangerous situations he puts himself in, moral dilemmas be damned. I would not necessarily define him as blasé, nor is he completely apathetic. He is simply just a bit nonchalant. He is The type of person who is focused in every moment and consciously detached from all the chaos that gravitates around him.
Roles and performances like this one are the reason why Gosling is quickly becoming one of the most defining actors of our generation.
Despite the way he is portrayed in the trailers his character has a strong degree of depth. This depth can be attributed to partly the strength of the script, but mostly to Gosling performance. Throughout the film Gosling is remarkably interesting to watch despite saying very little. Roles and performances like this one are the reason why Gosling is quickly becoming one of the most defining actors of our generation.
His character is the perfect blend of exterior cool with just a hint of rage bubbling under the surface. It’s a tricky duality to balance, but one that Gosling pulls off with a perfect combination of relaxed body language juxtaposed by piercing eyes that reveal something darker lurking within.
Gosling pulls off with a perfect combination of relaxed body language juxtaposed by piercing eyes that reveal something darker lurking within.
Gosling’s character truly is the epitome of the archetypal hero. We don’t know his exact motivations to help people, and he does not ask for anything in return. Midway through the movie this hero is sprung to live after the lives of his friends are threatened by a local group of sadistic criminals following a robbery gone awry—a robbery in which Gosling controlled the getaway car. Ultimately, it is his loyalty to his small group of friends – an estranged wife and her son that live next door; his boss at the auto shop – that in due course gets him caught in a tangled mess of gangsters and hit-men, and subsequently corruption and murder. His only way out, and the only way to protect the ones he cares about, is (of course) to take matters into his own hands and destroy these people who are threatening to cause them harm.
It is very easy to be critical of this film. The plot is somewhat cliché and predictable, most of the characters are one-dimensional, and some of the excessive violence leaves you wondering the specific intent behind it. Still, with that being said, I think it is worth watching because the style and tone of this picture is vastly dissimilar than almost anything else being made right now. It harkens back to noir films of the 1970’s and ‘80’s, complete with a synth-tinged music score and a quiet, confident hero in the vein of certain Clint Eastwood characters, or Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Travis in Taxi Driver. I give kudos to the director for having the nerve to create something that is daring, different and unique. That in itself was incredibly refreshing and worth the price of admission.
Also, it was nice to see a dramatic film with elements of action based in reality. This film features some of the coolest car chases in recent memory and not once do I remember seeing CGI or overly artificial special effects. Drive has the look and feel of a low-budget production, but that ended up helping make the story believable and real.
I can almost guarantee it is a film that, for better or worse, will leave you thinking.
This film is not for everyone, and whether it will resonate with you is a question that I cannot answer. But I can almost guarantee it is a film that, for better or worse, will leave you thinking. And in this day in age of modern cinema, that is saying a lot.
By David Ashton | Bright Futura Columnist