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26-09-2011, 12:56 AM
I've already seen it twice, now, and I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. I STRONGLY suggest you go and see it!


While the advertisements may paint it as just an action movie, this would be a terrible misunderstanding of what a powerful, moving, beautiful, and intelligent film it is. From the finely crafted cinematography, the achingly haunting music, to the slow, tender acting between Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, this movie will stay with you and haunt you.

The premise of the movie is simple enough: Ryan Gosling is a stunt-driver and handyman who acts as a wheelman for criminals by night. He promises to show up to any location, and give you five minutes to do whatever you are going to do, no more or less. After that, he will take you anywhere you need to go to escape. He does not engage in the criminal activity, nor does he carry a weapon. He drives. In the course of his "normal" life, he meets and begins to fall in love with the woman who lives down the hall form him in his apartment building. Her husband, newly released from prison, is into some nasty men for a lot of money and the Driver (who remains unnamed throughout the film) agrees to help him pay off this debt, for the sake of the woman he loves and her son whom he has grown fond of. After this, everything spirals out of control, and the Driver must make the choice between his future and the future of the woman he loves.

This brief description does nothing to adequately describe the movie. Drive is not a fast-paced action movie, though it does have action, and some of the most brutally violent sequences in a film thus far this year. Yet, these moments of action and violence are very few and far between , which makes them all the more tense and nerve-racking. The film feels starkly realistic, with the Driver displaying his skills at evading pursuit more through cunning than speed. In fact, the movie opens with a car "chase" where the Driver spends as much time parked as he does moving the car. He evades pursuit by stealth and planning. This is why the film succeeds so well, as it's an action movie that we can believe in, and this keeps us in fear for our knight and his maiden for we know that battling mobsters and hitmen is not something one engages in and survives for long. It makes for a powerfully tense movie where even scenes of complete stillness make for taut and nerve-racking excitement.

The film has a second identity, however, as a love story. There are no sex scenes, and only one kiss, yet the tender feelings between the Driver and his neighbor Irene are evident in every glance and easy smile. These sweet moments, which mostly occur in the first half, make the rest of the film truly jarring, as we have grown to care so much for the Driver and his lady love that we cannot help but wish the action-oriented and violent second half didn't exist. It's a rare action movie that makes us actually dread the coming action, wishing that our hero could only find peace and happiness, even if it cost us entertainment value.

The duality of the film is best captured in a single scene, where the Driver and Irene ride an elevator down with a third man that the audience knows to be a hitman sent for the Driver. Our hero notices the gun immediately and we expect this to turn immediately into a fight scene, but instead the Driver pauses to turn to Irene, the camera zooms in only on them, and the lights dim except for the one light illuminating their faces as they share their first kiss. This sweet, beautiful, and haunting moment has no sound or music, it is dead quiet, and as soon as the kiss breaks the Driver turns and attacks the hitman in one of the most brutally violent scenes I have seen in a movie all year, or possibly in the past two years. It's a horrifying moment, and this best describes Drive...a tender love story that must be interrupted by the brutality of the real world, which will not leave it in peace.

This is also a movie for people of intelligence who like to think. Everything (including the music) is carefully chosen and displayed with hidden messages. The Driver is like a knight, in many ways. He seems chivalrous, silent, dashing, and courageous to the damsel...but the reality is that knights are brutal warriors who engage in intensely violent lives. The elevator scene shatters the illusion for Irene, as she sees her knight for what he really is. The Driver's iconic and cool jacket is his armor, the gloves are his gauntlets, the mask is his helm, and the car is his steed.

The soundtrack of the movie is absolutely stellar and the lyrics are all highly relevant to the meaning of the movie. The song that will stick with you the most is "A Real Hero" by College. In a moment of happiness very early in the film the song plays in the background, and then it plays one more time near the end of the movie. It's worth noting the main lyrics in the song are

"And you, have proved, to be
A real human being, And a real hero"

First it mentions he has proved to be "a real human being" and then "a real hero". The first time we hear the song is his first "human" moment in the movie, and we hear the song again at the end. He is a human and then a hero.

EVERY bit of this film is filled with meaning like this, EVERY song has meaning like this.

Drive is an intelligent, haunting, beautiful, powerful, moving masterpiece of a film and it is by far my favorite movie of 2011. I STRONGLY recommend you go see it as soon as you possibly can. Just sit back and enjoy the film for what it is the first time you see it, but the second time you go you should look for every nuance and hidden truth behind the veneer.

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Messages In This Thread
DRIVE - 17thknight - 26-09-2011 12:56 AM
RE: DRIVE - jkshrout - 08-10-2011, 05:40 AM
RE: DRIVE - Filox - 15-10-2011, 05:41 AM
RE: DRIVE - GirlyMan - 16-10-2011, 04:50 AM
RE: DRIVE - 17thknight - 16-10-2011, 11:21 PM
RE: DRIVE - Filox - 22-10-2011, 12:47 AM
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