Review : Drive (2011)
"There Are No Clean Getaways"
Released (UK) 23rd September 2011, Rated 18. Runtime: 100 minutes (1 hours, 40 minutes).
Official Synopsis: A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.
Red Corner Review, by Lisa
Added October 16th, 2011
Hmm, where to begin? Perhaps the opening sequence of the film where we meet our nameless protagonist, played by Ryan Gosling. He is on a job, get away driving for robbers and has set his five minute rule and explained that they have five minutes of his time and then they are on their own. Right, OK so far. Lots of shots of an emotionless ryan driving about in his car. That’s OK too, I guess… the film is called Drive.
Then the scene goes on and on. The director chose to put up some lurid 80’s style pink credits and an extended driving scene in silence, while loud 80’s inspired music plays. There is more of contrast between complete silence and loud lurid 80’s inspired music than there is dialogue in this film. Clearly the director was aiming for some kind of arthouse indie feeling while painting his protagonist as a simple quiet (and it turns out rather violent) man pushed to violent action.
The toothpick our man sports is more than one nod to the old strong silent ‘man with no name’ type hero we are more used to seeing in a western or a straight out and out action flick. Infact the presence of someone like Jason Statham might have actually made this film work a bit better. In short, it was aiming too high and it missed. Obviously they felt that combining genre’s would give the action/crime heist a new spin, but they failed to maintain interest or entertained. Effective use of silence in a film can add so much to the tone and ambience of the film, all it lended to this was to amplify my boredom.
The plot is straightforward enough. There is another character I should mention, who ties together the 80’s and western themes in the film and that is the silky scorpion bomber jacket. It gets alot of screen time and is focused in the shots quite alot. I think we were supposed to think that this symbol seems to represent him in someway and becomes more important.
Carey Mulligan was annoying and a bit pointless. A lot of people die because of her. Her sole purpose is to look doe eyed throughout, with very little script to work with, and she provides our protagonist with the happiest moments of his life. Dunno why as they seem to speak very little and how Carey doesn’t think that he is strange is beyond me – he clearly reeks of awkward loner with a violent backstory! Then again, she had a kid with a guy called Standard who ended up in prison, so her character clearly demonstrates poor choices with men.
One of the things I did like was the unflinching and unapologetic violence. We have forks in the eye, bloody shoot outs, breaking hands with hammers, stamping someone to death and throat in the gullett, cut throat razer to the forearm and more stabbing. One point for the score will go to that. What I didn’t like was the fact that when our protagonist is breaking the guys hand at the strip club, the strippers are just sitting about topless like they see this every single say of the week, several times a day. Not so much as even batting an eyelid.
I thought the scene where he kills Ron Perlmans charachter Nico was a bit odd too. Why does he put on the mask? Not because he doesn’t want to get recognised as he is happy to walk about in his blood stained silky bomber jacket for the rest of the film. Ron was great as usual and the film gets half a point in the score for including him. A good performance too from Breaking bad star Bryan Cranston as mentor/father figure Shannon. Though I thought him a tad too similar to his character in Breaking Bad, which is a shame because that character is excellent and Shannon as a character has the range and depth of a puddle. Not Bryan’s fault – he could only work with what he was given.
Ok so they didn’t go for the obvious happy ending… at the end he gets stabbed and drives away, leaving the money, so you see he has morals and he has sacrificed himself for her protection. Thanks, Director, but I have lost interest already. I would have taken the money and started a new life in Mexico! It felt overly long and was too light on plot and too heavy on silence to make it work. I wouldn’t recommend this film.