Drive

Drive

“You tell me where we start, where we’re going, where we’re going afterwards. I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes, and I’m yours, no matter what. Anything a minute either side of that, you’re on your own. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down. I don’t carry a gun. I drive.”

Ryan Gosling, car chases, mob violence, love story . . . This movie has a little something to fuel anyone’s wet dream. Personally, what got me off was: the killer retro-digital soundtrack, the sparse dialogue, the abrupt and brutal violence, and the breathtaking visuals. I was hooked from the opening scene, in a trancelike state thanks to the song “Nightcall” by Kavinsky featuring Lovefox.

Nightcall by Kavinsky ft. Lovefox: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdP2q88rw3U

The movie “Drive” is based on the 2005 James Sallis novella with the same title. So, let’s talk book.

The book is an extremely quick read with short two-to-three page chapters adding up to a 158 pages. All in all, it took me two hours to get through. It had its moments with more confrontations and violence than what was depicted in the movie. The main character is only referred to throughout as Driver. His personality came through decently. I got a good feel for his stunt job during the day and get-away-driver job at night. His persona of someone that speaks with actions and very few words came across strong. The book jumps back and forth in time and throws random one page characters at you, which left me somewhat lost. The only character that is developed (as much as a character can be in 158 pages with large font) is Driver. But besides Driver’s character and a few other characters’ names shared, there were very few similarities between the book and the movie that followed.

Back to the movie.

The story takes place in an 80s-noir LA and starts with a “long take” car chase, filmed from inside of the car to get the viewer closer to the action, closer to the story. You become Driver. See what he sees. Feel what he feels. Your heart pounds. Your hands clam up. There’s a baseball game coming from the speakers.

This isn’t your typical high-flying, over-the-top car chase. This one is actually believable, and there’s more slow driving and patient precision decision making than unrealistic exploding fireworks. This does not take away from the intensity or the action, whatsoever, but actually adds to it, in my opinion.

To avoid spoilers, I’ll keep the details to a minimum.

Drive is the story of boy meets girl, boy must save girl from a heist gone wrong. To protect the girl, Driver must go from a seemingly sensitive good hearted young man (whose gotten himself involved with some socially unacceptable behaviors), to a stone cold, vicious, killing badass.

“You look like you’re hard to work with.”

“Not if we understand each other.”

From the driving scenes shot interiorly, to the gut-wrenching facial expressions, to the slowed down extended walking scenes, to the fucking amazing retro-digital soundtrack from start to finish, to the minimal but spot-on dialogue—as simple as the concept
of the movie is, it is the most beautiful film I have seen in a while. Even the brutality is done in a brilliant way. Hell, I even liked the 80s cursive font reminiscent to Risky Business.

“And what do you get out of it?”

“Just that. Out of it.”

In reading Drive and watching the movie more than once, I’ve learned a few things:

1.) Beware of Chrysler 300s.

2.) Five minutes is adequate time for a robbery.

3.) Sometimes, swinging before talking works better.

4.) Forks do penetrate skull.

5.) When cutting someone’s radial artery, go vertically.

“You give me the money, the girl is safe. Forever. Nobody knows about her. She’s off the map. I can’t offer you the same.”

The movie was engrossing from start to finish and stayed true to its dark, composed-yet-intense style through to the ending credits. Actually, I have nothing bad to say about it. I think anyone and everyone can enjoy it. It’s almost mainstream for those Fast and Furious loving fans who adore all the bad acting and steroids and high flying action and Nicholas Cage. And it’s also not too mainstream for those artsy hipsters that only like things that other people hate, or haven’t heard of (you know who you are).

Go out. Get the DVD. For the online junkies, get it on Netflix. And then get the soundtrack. It will be time well invested.

But what do I know?

I drive. That’s all I do.

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