"Drive" Movie Review
Drive (2011) Movie Poster
An overview of Drive
Drive stars Ryan Gosling as simply "Driver" - a talented wheel man who, in his time off from stunt driving for movies, wheels getaway cars for heists. The Driver's world gets a little muddy when his friend's investment with the mob goes south at the same time that his attractive neighbor's husband gets indebted to the wrong people. The Driver, to protect those he loves, offers his services in an attempt to set things right but things only get worse, forcing him to go out of his way and wrap things up with lots of killing.
Drive is easily one of the best movies I've ever seen. Hands down.
Ryan Gosling as "Driver"
Ryan Gosling Nailed it!
Ryan Gosling is an incredible actor and I honestly can't say I've seen a movie of his that I didn't enjoy. Drive is no exception to this. His character, simply listed in the credits as "Driver", is a quiet, stoic and contemplative man. You can tell that, while silent, his mind is generally moving. He isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, but he prefers to keep to himself and worry about his own.
Silence plays a major role in this film. Gosling has a grand total of maybe 15 minutes of speaking. He said in an interview that he enjoyed being able to play a role where it was up to the audience to make assessments and interpret motive and thought.
To that end, the silence was very well used. In fact, the silence works towards displaying a massive amount of masculinity. The Driver ends up romantically wooing his neighbor by doing.. well... nothing. He is simply a strong and dominant masculine presence in her life which ends up kicking her attraction for him into over drive.
The silence allows Gosling to display control. He controls his emotions and very rarely lets the cat out of the bag. You can see that he is generally reserved, unleashing only passion and hate - and only in measured doses when needed. He has a reserved silence about him, where you can tell he wants to respond but chooses not to in favor of letting other people get ahead of themselves.
Drive (2011) Trailer
Silence, Mastery, and Masculinity
The Driver also chooses to never explain himself. He is who he is, and he does what he does without apology or explanation. Even when talking to a Mob boss who is standing with hand extended, The Driver just looks up at him. He doesn't smile. He doesn't shake hands. He just looks, waiting. People will always speak when they feel uncomfortable, and what you can gain from their rambling can be incalculable. The Driver uses this to create tension, gain information, and stay (or escalate) conflict - something he is in no way afraid of.
Another area in which The Driver's masculinity shines is his mastery behind the wheel. He has absolute mastery of himself when he is in a vehicle. There is something almost supernatural about his connection to cars. In addition to stunt driving, he is also an incredible auto mechanic. His devotion and understanding of vehicles puts him in a league of his own. It is an extremely desirable and masculine characteristic to have total mastery and control over something.
Wide angle shots of the Driver's actions were used to convey subtext without any lines being spoken
Technical Aspects of the movie
From a technical aspect it was a decent movie. The direction was good, making artistic use of a lot of scenes. There is one scene, for example, where Gosling sits in his apartment, working with a piece of his car. The only light is the one on his desk and he's sitting in complete silence. It was a great scene. The movie as a whole is filmed like that, with silence playing a major role and a creative use of lighting to help increase the mood.
The music in the movie was also a plus, starting with Kavinsky's "Nightcall" and moving forward with a soft sort of techno feel. In some movies the music can feel out of place or ill-timed. In a movie like this, where silence plays a role just as important (if not more so) than dialogue, it would be very easy to misplace or mistime music. Fortunately it doesn't happen, and the generally softer tone of the music adds feeling and emotion.
The movie often used intense violence in place of spoken dialogue
Violence & Nudity
The movie gets really gory about half way through - more than I had expected. We see a head blown off point blank with a shotgun, Driver kicks in a guy's head until brain matter is everywhere, an arm is opened up with a straight razor to let a man bleed out, another man is stabbed repeatedly in the neck with a kitchen knife, but in a movie like this - an understated, quiet action movie - the gore just adds an awesome factor.
There was one scene with some unexpected and entirely unnecessary nudity. Now, I don't have any problem with nudity, per se, but it was unexpected, random and just felt inappropriate. The scene could have easily been reworked to have the women wearing bras, corsets or something. Yet it was filmed in a way to capture as many breasts as possible, often including close-ups of the women who sat silent and unmoved that included a shot of their breasts. Overall I felt the nudity unnecessary, taking away more from the film than it added.
Perlman as "Nino", the film's antagonist
Ron Perlman was exceptional!
I feel I would be remiss if I didn't mention Ron Perlman. He does a great job in this movie. I've found that, with the exception of Sons of Anarchy, Perlman usually plays the same character in most every role. For example in Season of the Witch his character used modern lingo and rolled his eyes at Cage enough times that I felt like he was breaking the fourth wall for a gag. To me, this has been Perlman's character in every movie. I don't mind this, I actually enjoy it. In this movie, however, Perlman shines as an emotional and passionate actor much in the way he did in Sons of Anarchy.
All in all, Drive was an incredible movie - one that I'm sure to watch again and again. The movie is available on Netflix streaming and you can grab it on Amazon to either rent and stream or purchase on Blu-ray and DVD.
I've opened up the comments section so if you have anything to add or if you'd like to see me change something or review something, feel free to leave your thoughts!
© 2016 Remy Sheppard