The trailers for Drive made it look kind of like your standard action-crime movie who's only real benefit is a solid cast (and director, though I did not know it at the time), but a few critics I respect made it sound like it was a worth a watch. So I saw it with my dad and we walked out having very different opinions.
He saw it as boring, pretentious, needlessly gory and overly stylized. Don't get me wrong, my dad has an excellent opinion on movies, this just wasn't his thing.
A lot of people walked in expecting, as I did, a cool but simpleminded action movie about fast cars, like a Jason Statham movie, but starring Ryan Gosling, making it exotic somehow. Lot of people initially didn't like what it was, which is an excellent shift in atmosphere for a movie like this.
I think the emphasis on artistry and style works to the film's advantage, because if not for the A-list actors, the virtuoso directing of Nicholas Winding Refn, and the nuanced writing, this is a story that has been done to death. The story in which a troubled loner steps into the lives of a down on their luck family and finds redemption by sacrificing his happiness to preserve theirs, usually by destroying the villains plaguing them and thus destroy the life of peace he desperately wants. It's a movie you'll see every two or three years with a different action star and guns and explosions and so on.
But not like this.
Drive is a Deconstruction
of that story, taking it back to the '60s in terms of theme, feeling like Bullitt
and Point Blank
, with the look of '80s film noir.
Instead of an out and out action hero, The Driver is a subdued but otherwise fascinating character, a stoic enigma who strives for excellence in both his day and night time activities, which is complicated when he develops feelings for a woman and her son. Her husband is in with seedy gangsters and has to do a job to get out of it. We all know how that goes? The Driver helps, gets involved. Then things get crazy.
Though the laconic dialogue and shameless stylishness can seem kind of awkward, Drive is more than just a rendition of The Nameless Avenging Drifter. It has weight and depth, and is a feast for the eyes.
I'd rather see a movie that has some craft and thought behind it then another knockoff of The Transporter