For a film with very little commercial hype, I was instantly drawn to Drive, starring Ryan Gosling. The short preview I saw for the first time a few days ago showed enough to entice me from skipping out on seeing Straw Dogs, which was what I had planned on seeing this weekend for a few weeks now. I’ll probably still wind up seeing it, but Drive definitely forced my hand into seeing it, which is exactly what I did this afternoon.
The plot in Drive is a basic story of a man who tows the line of legality and finds that he’s been double crossed in the process. This film then becomes a tale of setting things right, with a dash of vengeance stirred into the mix.
The story, if it was just for plot alone, would not be a winner on the story’s own merits. What makes this film a rather unique and very intriguing tale is the mystery that is ominously looming with everything that surrounds the main character. This is one of the best cerebral films I’ve seen in some time.
Ryan Gosling’s character is a Driver. He’s the getaway driver that operates in a fashion very similar to that of Jason Statham’s character in the Transporter films. He’s extremely quiet, yet through facial expression and body language some of his character is revealed. I say only some for a reason though. It’s the not fully detailed, almost shadow-like nature of the character that is the draw. The audience can see there’s more to him than we are, and then after the credits roll, had been shown. I got the impression that he moved to the area 6 years earlier to get away from a past life, and that he was keeping as low a profile as he could, avoiding questions and the like. But all this changes for him when he gets involved with Irene, his next-door neighbor and her son. Genuine emotions are formed, not just for the girl, but also for the son. His entire method of operating gets thrown for a loop from this point forward, where his stable calculations and under the radar way of doing business is tragically altered.
The ending is as open ended as the ideas are surrounding the past of the main character. It’s definitely a movie where more than one interpretation is possible, it’s only after resolving the matters of his past that I feel we, as the audience, are able to gather a solid opinion as to what happens once we get to fade out.
If you don’t like slower paced, cerebral films I would advise that you avoid this film. While there are a handful of action centered scenes, that’s not the point of this film, and you can easily get your action fix on just about any drama on television. If you’re going to see this movie you’ll have to accept that it’s chock full of one word statements by the main character, there’s a good deal to observe and the angles provided give you plenty of opportunity to do just that. This is what I liked about the film more than anything, in that you get to play detective, psychologist and observer as you’re thrust into a world where answers may be what they seem, but the motivations of the characters are the real mysteries you’re there to uncover and decipher. There’s a ton of layering and a very good use of sound.
If you like this type of film I would recommend you run out to your local Cineplex and then glue your eyes to the screen, pulling as many clues as you can as you attempt to unlock the mysteries of this character’s past and then attempt to provide your mind an ending suitable to the ideas you’ve unearthed.