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This sluggish piece of neo noir featuring a protagonist (Ryan Gosling)
in a constant state of comatose cool who assists in LA heists will have
you wanting to get out after a couple of miles as it cruises into the
slow lane of mawkish pretentiousness after the first twenty minutes.
Other than a couple of taut car chases this lemon has to depend on some
vivid gratuitous violence to keep the audience awake as it careens out
Gosling is Driver (what else?) who beyond giving instructions is a mostly mute dour fellow who looks in need of a good sleep. He don't carry artillery he just drives. Don't get him mad though.
The story is needlessly convoluted with Driver becoming involved with the girl and her kid next door whose paroled husband is forced into pulling off a job involving mob money of the same shadowy characters that bankroll a race car (did I tell you he has sure thing Nascar driver promise? ) as well as his loyal buddy who employs him who wouldn't you know it is also involved in the heist that's really a scam to cheat the East Coast mob.
Director Nicholas Winding Redfn opens Drive with a sharply edited tense nighttime LA heist raising the tempo to a high pitch almost immediately. But by the time the opening credits finish Redfn begins to stumble with awkward clumsily paced scenes filled with pregnant pauses and pallid posing in the dark by all concerned. Redfn moves his camera without purpose and when he does frame a composition well he lets it linger to a point of tedium. Making matters even more heavy handed are a soundtrack and music score (Cliff Martinez gets the blame) barging its way through nearly every scene of insipid gravity reinforcing ad nausea its tough guy stance to a point of unintentional parody.
Performances are uniformly zombie led by Gosling, a clueless Carey Mulligan as the drab, conflicted love interest and Albert Brooks with his usual flat lifeless affect as a surly hood looking heavily medicated. Bryan Cranston as Driver's boss delivers somewhat but the script will only let him expand on his role to a limited degree lacking the depth to make him or anyone else for that matter absorbing or even mildly interesting. Drive is one long meandering ride of strained seriousness. Better you should walk.
I would give this one star but I can't argue the cinematography is
fantastic unfortunately the acting and dialogue is so dry that at times
I wondered if I was watching a movie or looking at a picture.
I believe the minimal dialogue was actually intentional and was suppose to create the effect of say a spaghetti western. This effect fails however because the characters lines are usually pointless instead of utilizing the few opportunities to speak.
The violence would be pretty intense if the movie wasn't so slow because at that point you just start laughing at the unexpected effect of something actually happening after the wait.
As stated before though the filming is very impressive and this would be a cool part of a camera man's portfolio but that's about it.
When I heard about Drive, and saw the raving reviews about it, I went
in expecting something amazing...a really solid, character-driven
action/thriller, something like Leon. What I got was a tedious
When you watch the opening scene, things look good. It's not an explosive action scene by any means, but it's tense and edgy, and already I was gripping the edge of my seat. My expectations were still high. And after that...the entire movie slows down to the most glacial of drips.
Now I understand that a good movie needs to take its time. Character relationships need to build, plot points need to develop and so on. However, it just feels like the director's idea of taking time was to just squeeze a five-to-ten-second pause in front of every one of Ryan Gosling's lines. Curiously enough, Carey Mulligan was directed to deliver her lines in the exact same way, so all of the scenes in which they are talking together are just flat-out painful to get through. I know silence has its merits in conveying emotions and building tension, but there's just nothing to convey in these VERY long gaps! Both actors just have hollow, blank looks on their faces, and about eighty percent of the time they're just strangers making small talk, so there's no drama to soak up either. It's some of the most tedious dialogue I have ever sat through.
Oscar Isaac is the third actor to use this technique, but he's the only one that gives it a purpose. Especially when he's addressing Gosling in the hallway, there's just an unpredictable, dangerous air about him, like you just expect him to break out shouting. He was a damn scary character in his own subtle way, and I praise his performance.
The one advantage of the ever-so-quiet first hour of this film is that when action DOES occur, it hits you like a punch in the gut. It doesn't feel like so much of an everyday occurrence, which makes it all the more pulse-pounding. Also, seeing the stoic Driver unleashing his darker side is pretty terrifying, especially since he appears so quiet and distant for the rest of the film. Is it worth all those long, wooden pauses? No. His quietness could have still been conveyed without wasting so much screen time.
The final scenes of the film are definitely worth watching, and there is some superb direction (the scene on the beach was one of the best directed scenes I've ever seen) and some downright chilling moments. I won't spoil anything, but the ending really knows how to play with your expectations, and it was beautifully done.
Visually, it's also pretty stunning. The deep, crisp shadows really makes the film feel like a graphic novel at times, and almost any shot in this film could be made into a painting. I have to give it credit for that, it looked beautiful.
I won't go into the plot, so as not to spoil anything, but I will say it's interesting, just not really explained with much depth. You almost feel like the story is just a side-plot to something, it never really feels like it's at the foreground until the third act. It also has one of the most hollow screen romances I have ever endured, no matter how much the music and direction tries to convince you otherwise.
So, in conclusion...what was THERE was pretty interesting, but there just wasn't much of it. The movie wastes an ungodly amount of time with long pauses that convey nothing, and the entire movie could probably be condensed into a little less than an hour and still not appear rushed. I'm not saying it should have been a noisy, explosive action blockbuster, but I was hoping for more than blank-faced silences at least.
Hence, I'm sorry to give it a five out of ten. Because half of the film deserves top marks, but the other half is just empty. I really wanted to enjoy this film as well.
Everything about this film should have pointed towards a classic but its ultimately an opportunity missed. The film is well cast, the soundtrack is fantastic (Cliff Martinez), the cinematography with washed-out neon is great to look at. The problem is at the heart of the movie and the lack of compelling reason for the driver to take the actions that he does at the end. To suggest that he sympathises with the husband fresh out of jail and running with the same people that he drives for is laughable. There could have been a much stronger reason (the son and/ or wife is shot as a result of a failed heist by the husband) that would have resulted in the driver resorting to his actions. Could have been great; is actually average at best.
I'm a car nut! The previews looked very promising, but during the movie I was wondering if this was actually made in the 1980's, and then a few scenes were made with modern day vehicles. Thirty minutes into the movie I wanted to leave, but I held out hope minute by minute that the movie would get better. This is the worst spent $7.50 I have ever traded in a long time for some entertainment. If $13 million was spent on this, it was a total waste of someone's money. I was hoping for a better, or well matched, version of the 1978's "The Driver" with Ryan O'Neal. The entire length of all car chases probably totaled no more than three minutes out of 100 minutes. There was also so little dialogue that I was wondering if the Producer had to paid for each word from each actor and had only budgeted a buck fifty for verbal expense!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, I just saw this flaming pile of fail. I don't get what everyone
is so excited about. The dialog is PATHETIC. My wife looked to me and
said, "Autism, not just for handicapped people anymore".
Ryan G. is somewhere between a psychopath and moron.
The girl, who's name is as irrelevant as her character could have just as easily not been in the movie. She could have been replaced by a blow up plastic love doll and a tape recorder...with weak batteries.
Plot synopsis 1) Driver (fyi, that is the only name we get to know him by) is driver. He's like the Transporter from the movie, except 1/14th as interesting.
2) He goes home after job finds girl (see above) girl has boy, girl has husband in prison.
3) Driver wants to be a mechanic, or a Nascar Driver, or a criminal, or a Movie Stunt Driver...or maybe a space shuttle pilot? or President of Uganda, who knows.
3) Husband of girl gets out of jail, and he owes money to mafia guys. Drivers likes girl, so he helps husband.
4) Husband robs pawn shop and dies. Seems that he's been set up by mafia guys as a frame job and Husband gets dead'ed.
5) Driver gets even. Kills everyone. For a while, dressed in a stunt driver mask.
6) Driver gets killed, but lives, or something, driver drives off.
AS you can see this movie had some holes. The holes were as follows: a) Acting b) plot c) Script d) Casting e) failure to provide return receipts for those of us who purchased tickets to see.
If you go to this movie, drink a lot first. And when say a lot, I mean, copious amounts of hard liquor preferable Absenth or something in the 180 proof range.
God knows I wish I had!
Let's go watch a movie I said.OK,I see what's on for the day,and I
briefly look at each one on IMDb,hmm..This "Drive" movie sounds
cool,and with such a rating,it must be good.
The movie started and as the movie went by,I wondered if I am watching the wrong movie..Nothing happening even after 30 minutes,the main character must have said 30 lines,which of course all were dull,boring,and with 5-10 second pauses between them.And what really annoyed me is the actor,the worst acting from him i've ever seen.I THINK he was trying to look "tough" and because of that he just had this..DUMB look (with a toothpick) every time the camera was on him.
I will not continue,other people are better at criticizing and writing,but DON'T waste your money on this!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Worse tripe since "Black Dahlia". At least Josh Hartnett TRIED to act
in that. The direction on "Drive" appears to be "action"...and somebody
forgot to say "cut". Not to mention actually film any action.
I'm also rather bemused by all the "you don't really know anything about film", if you don't happen to worship at this piece of post-modernist crap. I can guaranFRAKINGtee you that my "best of" list has movies most can barely pronounce, let alone have ever seen. I studied film at college and I've seen more art/cult/indy movies in ONE DAY than most of you have in your lifetimes.
So, I know pretentious crap when I see it, and this pretentious crap.
I usually love pretentious crap. I can usually get SOMETHING out of, though. Some acting, some plot, some music, some action. But instead, we get dull actors, a heist gone wrong cliché, REALLY bad 80s music, and precisely 5 minutes of really good driving at the very beginning.
This film has nothing to offer me but Albert Brooks (which is the only reason it gets one star, although I can't really give it zero).
And, no, I've never seen "Fast and Furious". I don't intentionally watch a Bruckheimer movie. And I would have got the irony if there was actually not a single bit of driving in this movie.
If you want the same effect this movie gave me, put on a car commercial, push pause, drink a shot of cough syrup, hit play for three seconds, repeat. It would help if your three year old was playing with a Casio keyboard as well, or put on the "Miami Vice" soundtrack (TV show, not movie).
Do yourself a favour: rent "Into the Night" and "The Limey" if you want a vision of gritty LA. Or, hell, watch "The Shield", which had more integrity in one scene than in the six hours this pretentious crap seemed to be.
Oh, and Christina Hendricks gets a credit? The car's tachometer gets more screen time.
Between her prominent, er, billing, and the trailer, this was pure Hollywood shuck and jive, bait and switch. I went only because of the good review from one of my fave hometown reviewers, on a Saturday night date. Don't tell me this wasn't deliberately marketed as such.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Driver(Ryan Gosling) is a mysterious protagonist. The movie takes place
in present time and we don't know anything about his past or his
future. He doesn't have a name. We know that he is a professional
getaway driver and he seems to be living a low profile life before he
meets his next-door neighbors. A mother and her son...
We don't know why he was driving around before but from that moment on, his actions are driven only by love. He embraces them as his own family and protects them instinctively. He becomes their 'hero' but can't protect them from getting hurt. The controlling idea of the movie is "A real human being' can be 'a real hero' only to the limit that his/her environment (destiny) allows." Director presents this complex character almost like a cowboy in a wild terrain. Extreme long shots of him in the middle of nowhere, driving his car to the close ups of the face that has little clues of emotion
Ryan Gosling does a wonderful job in this interesting take on the
silent; yet not brooding, character who dabbles in both the criminal
and honest world. He's not conflicted, just appears to be slightly less
comfortable in the real world where he has to actually interact with
others. He does a wonderful job portraying a character that, while not
having great multiple depths, does have two distinctly different roles
to play; which he does admirably with slight differences in each
Some of the crooks are slightly lame; but one or two personify calm, deliberate, malice - as a business requirement almost; definitely not the personification of evil.
Carey Mulligan does a fine turn in her pivotal; yet not major role.
A good one for home viewing...
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