5. Drive (2011)
movies seen in 2013
The drive home movie clip featuring the song A Real Hero :: College, featuring Electric Youth
The elevator moment
This was a second viewing of the film for me, and by all accounts, the more emotionally charged experience. I think this is due to the fact that the first time around there was the initial confusion I felt at the start from a visual perspective, as well as the shock and surprise moments that really pack a wallop the first time around. This second time I got to take it all in, the smaller moments, the complexities, the amazing cinematography, the silent interactions between characters, and the phenomenal acting.
The film, at first glance and at first viewing, threw me off from a stylistic and visual approach. So much of what I first took in felt like certain films, and style choices, used heavily in the eighties. Even the font used, in that neon pink with a flair immediately reminiscent of Patrick Nagel art (think cover of Duran Duran’s Rio album) hit on that decade. The music, too, heavy on electronics and new wave sensibilities, harkened a time when I was first seeing movie after movie at the local Cineplex. I still am unsure if this was meant to be an homage, or if it was strictly a style choice, or perhaps even it was meant to start off the film with the viewer feeling a little off-kilter. Regardless, the second time around I just soaked it all in and found myself getting lost in what I saw.
This is a cinematography movie, honestly it is, what with the brilliant uses of light and camera angles, and the way that the motion and movement truly do drive the plot forward. This is a film light on dialogue, but heavy on visuals, which really works for me. I kept finding myself experiencing that overall feeling I have when I drive alone with the music playing, allowing myself to get lost in the abyss of visual stimuli and its musical accompaniment.
There is some amazing acting going on in this film, unexpected character portrayals especially in the case of Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman. Carey Mulligan is simply radient in this, and her eyes work as mirrors to all that is going on, reflecting the hope and hopelessness in all that transpires. My favorite characters in this, by far though, are Ryan Gosling’s “Driver” and Bryan Cranston’s Shannon. Shannon breaks my heart, as we see him caught up in the desire to be something conflicting with a very parental relationship he has with the “Driver” and the familial bonds he has with Bernie. He is so broken to me, and is so heartbreaking to watch, especially in the end confrontation he has with Bernie, which was to me one of the most powerful cinematic confrontations reminiscent of the confrontation between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper in the film True Romance.
The “Driver”, as well, breaks my heart and pulls at my emotions something fierce. Despite his ability to be very cold and calculated, and also extremely violent, he has this childlike naivete about him. His character reminds me a lot of Luc Besson’s portrayal of Leon, in the film with the same name. No one ever really seems to know the “Driver” completely, including us as viewers who never get to know his name, but they seem drawn to him as if he is some kind of archangel, savior, fixer and cleaner all at once. They all seem to come to him for things they are missing: escape, defense, companionship, father/son relationship, saving, strategies and, to some extent, love. The “Driver” tries his best to fulfill all of it, giving pretty much everything to everyone, becoming a “real hero”, eventually winding up alone in the end. This is definitely a tragedy of a tale in every way.
A Real Hero :: College, featuring Electric Youth