Drive

Posted on May 29, 2013

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Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a mechanic and a movie stunt driver. He also rents his driving skills out for other purposes. “You give me a time and a place, I give you a five minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything happens a minute either side of that and you’re on your own.“

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He meets his new neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), whose husband is in jail. He starts a relationship with her, almost against his will. Then a job driving thieves turns out to be one mob boss stealing from another, and things go bad.

At Length

This movie was nominated for 80 awards, and won another 43. I am not going to hate on it.

I have seen movies like Thief, and Le Samouraï. That I can remember, I’ve watched movies from China, Japan, Korea, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, and the Congo.

So when I say that Drive is slow, I am trying to prepare you, the viewer, not criticize the film. Unplug the phone, sit down with your favorite snacks and beverage, and let the film roll over you.

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Drive is very much a throwback to slow-moving films of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. They are not bad movies. They take their time building character and mood, and the violent climax follows logically from the earlier events in the movies.

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Driver is a hero with no name, in the mold of several Clint Eastwood or Toshiro Mifune characters. Ryan Gosling does a terrific job taking us along on his character’s emotional journey. He does a good job of turning a cipher into a real character.

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Except for the outbursts of violence, his emotions are mostly subtle. Fortunately, as Irene, Carey Mulligan provides a magnifying mirror for Driver. She does a terrific job. We understand completely how Irene draws Driver out of his shell.

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We get to see events that Driver does not, so we understand how Irene makes him vulnerable, and how she raises the stakes for Driver. It’s a very effective technique.

Overall

Frankly, I was not in the mood for Drive when I watched it. The trailer made it seem like more of a violent gangster picture, and I fell for that. If you accept Drive for what it is, you’ll find a well-made movie.

Maybe you will even want to read James Sallis’ novel.

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Posted in: Movies