Every now and then a film will come along that is destined to become a classic. These cinema gems will usually display unique vision, direction, great acting or a statement for its generation. For those that see it, these are the reason we watch films.
Drive came out of nowhere, trailer looked good, but with everything coming out at once it was shifted to the back of my mind. The first Sydney screening came and I missed it. Its effect on those that watched it however was undeniable, the buzz was at a fever pitch. It was official, Drive was a MUST see film.
Drive is a difficult film to talk about without wrecking the experience. Most of its advertising has it looking like a Fast and Furious film, and trust me it is about as far as you can get from that type of film. The film follows a character known only as the driver, a mechanic/stunt driver by day who moonlights as getaway driver by night. the driver is a quiet reserved man who avoids conflict and lives only to drive, allowing him to avoid the shady and dangerous worlds that he sits very close to the edge of with the lifestyle he lives. He becomes obsessed by the girl next door, Irene (Carey Mulligan) and is fascinated by the simple life she has with her son. By chance Irene’s car breaks down and after some brilliantly directed moments of attraction the two begin to grow close. As time goes on and the driver becomes a regular part of Irene’s life and he finds passion for the first time outside of driving. However, Irene is married and when her husband is released from prison everything begins to fall apart. His relationship with Irene becomes strained, tempers flare and old family debts begin to rear their heads, endangering his new friends. As he tries to help, his life becomes more complicated and the world he has avoided for so long begins to unravel with some rather violent consequences.
Drive plays out like an early play with love and tragedy being its main focuses. The film strives to push the emotions throughout, using reserve and controlled bursts of heavy action and violence. The effect is powerful to say the least. It was also nice to see a director that wasn’t afraid to use silence and long paced shots to create a scene. Nowadays films tend to lead us by the hand through its emotions rather than allowing the audience to feel by themselves and Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson & the Pusher trilogy) shows a surprising amount of reserve compared to some of his other films.
The cast of Drive is exceptional too, apart from Carey Mulligan who is as charming as always, you have Breaking Bad’s Brian Cranston, fan favorite Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks doing a very creepy mob boss. Of course, Ryan Gosling is the show stealer. His character is mesmurising, the quiet and reserved nature are impressively well acted and when he explodes its quite spectacular. His devotion to the role has him destined for greatness and though I have never really paid enough attention to him, this film has jumped him right to the top of my ‘must watch’ list.
Overall this is one of the best films I have seen in a long time. Seeing a film that is both creative and original comes only every now and then and when it does it will be seen by some as amazing and by others as just another film. I urge you to give this one a try, it will be worth your while. My prediction is that this will soon be in most film lovers collections next to films like Scarface and Heat, the kind you pull out every few years to revisit. A timeless classic in the making.
– Josh Philpott