January 19th: Drive

Drive2011Poster

Release Date: 2011
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Why I picked this: It’s very good, I hear

Silence is golden. So is well planned out violence. This movie has both. I cannot stress enough that good visual storytelling makes a good movie, and this movie tells a great story just with faces, well framed shots, and a great soundtrack that contributes to the movie’s atmosphere. I especially loved the lighting and the use of mirrors. The film never wastes any time, as each shot and action propels some aspect of the movie, whether it would be the plot, or the evolution of a character or relationship. The reasoning for every shot makes perfect sense in the context of the movie by the end, and the results are satisfying. The same goes with the dialogue, which tells so much with so little words. It is a movie that is slow, but it is patient and never bores. There are occasional acts of extreme violence. They are abrupt, shocking, unsettling, but perfectly fit in with the tone of the film. From the marketing, one might believe that it is a fast-action chase movie, and while there are occasions of this, they are rare and not the focus. This is clear in the tense pre-credits sequence. It was careful and patient, just like the protagonist. Ryan Gosling plays the Driver, a “man with no name” type of character. He is silent and mysterious, but his character is soft more than hardened. He is vulnerable, careful, and patient, and doesn’t get his hands dirty until he is pushed over the line. Carey Mulligan is her love interest, and her blooming relationship with Gosling’s Driver is interesting to watch, but her character by herself is a little lacking in depth. Oscar Isaac as Mulligan’s husband recently released from prison is a more sympathetic character than one would think, but his performance is forgettable. Bryan Cranston as the Driver’s mentor and Ron Pearlman as one of the antagonists are great supporting players, but neither compare to Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose. Brooks’ Rose is foul-mouthed and violent, but also intelligent and even reluctant. He owns pretty much all of the screen time he occupies. I was unsure about the climactic moment of the movie, but the resolution was absolutely perfect and fitting with the rest of the movie.

Patient, subtle, beautiful, atmospheric, and violent, “Drive” is a great and unforgettable movie experience, heightened by a wonderful soundtrack and stand-out performances.

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