Movie Reviews: Drive

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Drive directed by Nicholas Winding Refn

I first remember seeing the preview for Drive in the theater.

I thought it was going to be a giant turd and refused to check it out. The marketing powers that be took it upon themselves in their infinite marketing wisdom to make it look like an action packed thrill ride as if it was the Fast and the Furious. They could’t have been more confused at appealing to people to watch it.

About 7 months later I finally watched the movie as it hit DVD. I barely rented it, you know, in one of those (is this movie even worth wasting my time with because I know it’ll be shit) moments. I think I went and got some food and popped in the DVD and pressed play while in the back of my mind thinking I could always just hit stop.

From the first two minutes I realized I was watching artistry at work. The director had a vision and they were going for it. When I say “it” I mean they were disregarding the rules of commercial filmmaking and attempting to make a perfect film. I don’t use that term lightly because to me, there might be only 1-2 movies per year that could be classified as a masterpiece.

After watching Drive, I concluded instantly it was the masterpiece of 2011.

It was probably 10:30pm when I finished and did something I’ve only done once since.

I watched the movie again in a true back-to-back, Shining-repetition. I simply couldn’t believe what I just saw. This wasn’t just a masterpiece. This was a damn perfect movie.

From the get go, the cinematography and music took control of the film. The director was not afraid to slowly let the scenes run a few seconds long even when no dialogue was taking place. The acting is an inspiring thing to watch. I’m not sure if it’s because they are not speaking as much dialogue they are forced to listen to every word rather than remember lines that they act more naturally or not.

The story is pretty straight forward, but there is a noticeable difference when an auteur is behind the camera. Originally, Hugh Jackman was planning to make some bullshit Fast and the Furious type movie which I can only imagine would have been worse than any Nicolas Cage movie the last 4 years. Thank god Ryan Gosling decided to go the artist route and get a director with talent to helm the picture.

I’m not going to get into the plot. See the damn movie if you haven’t. After I watched the movie a second time I went on Facebook and emailed every movie buff I knew and told them to see the movie and that I would pay. (This is totally weird and only happens once a decade). I needed to talk to somebody about this. I was crushed, kind of like the first time I saw Once Upon a Time in the West. This is what filmmaking should be. Tell a story the best way you can in the best format you can.

Sometimes less is more.

As for me, I continued watching Drive for a week straight. I studied every scene and tried to unravel what the secret was. I think I figured out what worked for me: An uncompromising vision. The only time I felt this in awe of an uncompromising vision since then was when I saw Mad Max: Fury Road. Holy shit I was blown away, especially by the first 30 minutes. Uncompromising vision to make the best film possible is something that doesn’t happen to often when the budget is over $10 million where focus groups, studio marketing, toy tie-ins, happy meals, soundtracks, book rehashings, tv spinoffs, and the almightily possibility of a sequel/reboot/remake/requel is considered.

Drive is a movie of uncompromising vision that didn’t give a rats ass about anything except telling the best possible story in 90 minutes.

It is a perfect movie.

QUEST REVIEWER: NATALIE THE NITPICKER 

I’m like so totally confused to what Matt is like totally saying, cuz, like, I really didn’t know what was going on in the movie. I mean, Ryan Gosling is totally cute usually, but he was a bit weird wearing a satin jacket with a yellow scorpion on the back and not talking much. I just didn’t understand why the girl just didn’t totally hook up with him and skip town with all that money, because I totally would have even though he really did totally smash in that skull like it was a watermelon. I’m from the south, so I’ve seen so many watermelons smashed like that, so it didn’t bother me one bit. 

Overall Rating: 10/10 Satin Jackets

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Movie Reviews: Drive

  1. Huge fan of Drive as well (not to mention Mad Max: Fury Road). I think it was totally underrated and agree it was probably the best film of 2011. Favorite scene has got to be the “Under Your Spell” party scene, especially when it’s crosscutting between him working on the part and her thinking about him. Too bad Refn’s follow up wasn’t as good.

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    • “Only God Forgives” was a hot mess of epic proportions, however, he has a documentary of the making-of, which is pretty insightful to his fears and gamble to get it done and follow up Drive with something different. I would watch that as a companion piece. Ref knew the movie was a hot mess (it was supposed to be filed before Drive but couldn’t get the funding).

      As for Drive, the entire movie is a marvel. His choice in actors alone is worth an entire examination. My favorite scene is the elevator fight. There are so many unspoken details that people miss: Brooks case of blades, the fact that she doesn’t narc on him, the cutting to black, the cash on the ground, and the end credit music mirroring his drive with the girl in the first act. I will have to do a scene by scene blog examination someday.

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