I don’t know why I haven’t watched this yet despite hearing about it constantly.
I feel like I was mislead about what exactly Drive is. Yes it’s about the Driver (Gosling) who is a wheel man at night (very occasionally it seems) and does some odd jobs during the day such as stunts for films or working in a garage. Despite that set up, that has little bearing on the film really. It’s important information, but it’s not exactly what the film is about and honestly I’m having a hard time putting it to words.
The movie itself is easier to classify. It is not an action movie. It sort of is, but it is not Transformers (don’t know why this has become the default example for action movies) or Lethal Weapon, but there are action sequences. It’s also not riddled with driving scenes. That would be something like Cannon Ball Run or Fast and Furious series. Again that element is there, but not overwhelmingly so. There is sort of a noir feel and it definitely fits the label of indie/art house film enough. Also plenty of 80’s kinda throwbacks. Basically it’s not some fast shoot ’em up movie. It’s quite the opposite for the most part.
The film is just slow. That’s not a bad thing, just the truth. The movie uses a lot of long takes. Even the actions sequences (including driving ones) are long takes. There isn’t a lot of cutting back and forth to create the illusion of action. For the most part the movie is also sparse on dialog. There are a number of empty silences between characters talking or in the Driver’s case some grunting/head nods. As slow as things are, it moves naturally. It never felt rushed or really drawn out. Most of the pauses have perfect timing. The camera lingers just long enough so that you don’t start noticing the silence. The movie also eases its way into things. You don’t necessarily just jump into anything in the movie. Things just continually build up. The second half of the film is really different from the first mostly because that’s when you really start to see Driver develop more as a character. Actually that’s when a lot of things about the characters comes out.
Ryan Gosling is really great, especially once you get later into the film. I thought the scene where he has the hammer in the strip joint was freaking great. Bryan Cranston was really good as well and it’s nice seeing him in supporting roles like this outside of Breaking Bad. And I’m still shocked at Albert Brooks. I mean I don’t think I’ve seen him play a role anywhere close to this. It’s sort of a shame his part is as small as it is, because he’s great and if for some reason you didn’t sit through the whole film, that’s why you might be confused about his performance. He makes a return later in the movie when things get intense.
I’m really surprised at the lack of award nominations for the movie. I mean watching it, I felt like it was a movie that the academy would at least be looking to nominate for things. The sound editing nomination makes sense. I didn’t know it was nominated for that till I just now looked it up. As I was watching the movie I was like “they have to at least nominate it for sound or sound editing.” There are very few times when I think about movies that should be nominated for those categories, but this was one of them (Unstoppable was another). The “silences” in the film allow you to actually notice the other sounds of the film besides dialog or the score. It adds a lot to the film.
Basically I love this movie and I’m pissed off at it not being nominated enough. If you tried watching it and stopped, go back and give it another shot and watch the movie all the way through. If you haven’t seen it, same advice. See the movie through the end. I mean really, these are the kind of movies people need to make or at least to take note of.
Also, the jacket was awesome. Doug Benson talked about it constantly so I paid a lot of attention to it and really that jacket works for so many reasons. It’s just amazing at how little details like that can impact a film.
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