Movie Review: Drive

By Cher Cabula-Mendoza - Sunday, November 06, 2011

I had the privilege to get to watch Drive at the press screening theother night and if you’ve only heard it now, Drive is an independent film which stars Ryan Gosling and has garnered much praise and positive reviews at the Cannes Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Festival. It is based on a novel by James Sallis of the same title.

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The protagonist played by Ryan Gosling is named Driver and is a stunt-driver by day and a getaway driver by night. He earns a considerable sum from the odd jobs set up by his employer/friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston). Driver is primarily a loner but his mundane existence somewhat deviated from its monotone pattern when he met his neighbor Irene (Carrey Mulligan) and her son Benecio (Kaden Leos). His continuing friendship with Irene prompted him to help her husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac) on a heist gone wrong. He was then found himself battling a mafia but strangely enough, instead of being the hunted, he became the hunter.

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If you plan on seeing Drive, don’t expect fast-paced action sequences that are so on-top of each other like the ones you see in the Fast and Furious films. This is nothing like that. The movie has its fair share of driving scenes and action but it’s more brooding and disturbing than an all-out thrill fest. Here are the things that you can expect from the film:

  • Hot pink credits and titles

For a film that sounds so masculine, the hot pink script was quite amusing. I don’t know but is this a trademark for Indie films?

  • Great soundtrack

I loved the ethereal electronic pop vocals that played especially during the start of the film. It reminded me so much of the kind of music from Late Night Alumni. At least the soundtrack really was perfect for driving.

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  • Not so cool aliases

Uhm Driver and Standard...I wish the author could have thought of better suited names than these. If he was trying to give them nicknames that he thought would give them an edge, well for me I think they didn’t really suite the characters.

  • A-list cast

For an independent film, it surely boasts of big names. Ryan Gosling is for one. There’s no denying he’s been successful in reviving his film career and fans just can’t get enough of him. Bryan Cranston has been seen both in films and on TV shows like Malcolm in the Middle, Contagion, Breaking Bad, How I Met your Mother and Fallen. Carrey Mulligan was rumored to have dated Shia LeBouf before and has been seen in films like Never Let Me Go, Public Enemies and Wall Street. Oscar Isaac was seen recently as Blue in Sucker Punch while Ron Perlman has been in Blade and of course as Hellboy himself.

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  • Ryan Gosling is a mutant

I swear this guy looks dirty and unshowered, covered in grease, grime and blood and he still manages to look good. How does he do it? Oh and also the fact that he gets bruised and stabbed but he just won’t die.

  • Good girls go for bad guys

Look at Irene (Carrey Mulligan), at first glance you’d see that she looks to be a sweet woman who won’t be able to hurt a fly. She looked like someone who deserved a life in the suburbs with a sweet husband and yet in this film she’s with husband who’s been in prison for a while. Go figure. Sadly even in real life so many women fall into this trap.

  • It’s in the eyes man

How I wish Ryan Gosling transformed his character into someone more menacing and maniacal when the script called it to be and yet his eyes betray him. His eyes are too kind and sometimes expressionless. Even if his veins are all throbbing and popping up, still I don’t get the “killer” vibe from him. If he had been able to successfully do that, then the film would have been more disturbing and more praise-worthy.

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In my opinion, Drive is not for everyone especially those who are expecting a fast-paced action film. The film’s plot is simple and there should’ve been more emphasis on how much a loner the protagonists character is but it also has its moments. Fair warning too that there’s considerable gore in this film but some parts have been cut. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. As a special treat, I’ve included a video clip of one of the songs from the movie so that you’ll get a preview of how great the soundtrack is.

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