Drive

Drive
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn 
Release Date: 20th May 2011
Rating: 18
Bold Films, Odd Lot Entertainment, Marc Platt Productions, Seed Productions

Drive has been rolling on past me for many months now. Since hearing about it when it came out in the cinema I’ve wanted to hop in the back seat and have the 80’s europop music and stylish direction sink into my brain, but I missed it there and nearly half a year later I finally take part in the cult movie of 2011. Fasten your seatbelts, the hype I’ve created for it is about to come crashing into the windscreen. Intact or in pieces?

Drive is a film which goes for style over substance. The story is nothing special, stunt man by day and driver by night, the driver (Ryan Gosling) uses his skills and it is all he knows… apart from bashing in people’s faces. Due to falling for his neighbour, he decides to help her dodgy husband with a robbery so he can keep her and the kid safe. Safety money. Things go wrong and gangsters get involved… seen it so many times before and Drive doesn’t tell it much differently. It isn’t a bad story, it isn’t a great story, more like a simple base set down with some decent bouts of tension thrown in to keep it interesting. It has a few interesting elements such as the day time stunt driver role, but the style is what heightens it all. Still, the story is above a lot of the junk that gets pushed onto the masses, even if it shows weakness it doesn’t show crap.

Drive isn’t well received because of the story, it’s the style it drips in. The synth pop music is glorious, songs which could have been pulled from the 80’s (Or Europe today) and a Blade Runner style background music paint a nocturnal retro setting with a feeling of unease. The driver says very little, instead we rely on his expression to show how he really feels and it the OTT violence is beautiful. When the driver gets mad, he gets pissed. The full on violence creates a strong contrast with the subtle character development and relaxed pace at the beginning. The typical story becomes a dreamy experience. It reminds me of Hanna in a lot of ways, simple story enhanced by artistic vision and direction.  It would be a sad world if something with a unique personality couldn’t make it onto the big screen.

Drive is an okay story wrapped in incredible presentation. But both need each other to work well and so Drive is one worth taking.  He could have worn a better jacket though. Scorpions just don’t do it for me.

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