Saturday, October 1, 2011

Drive (2011 film)

by DionysusPsyche
When I finished watching the film Drive, I assumed these things about Ryan Gosling's choice to take on the role.
  1. He wanted to be around a lot of cars
  2. He didn't want to say much—the less, the better (they might even pay him more for less words!)
  3. It needed to be a well-photographed movie where critics would judge it based more on films from a previous Golden Era in Hollywood cinema
  4. He didn't want something dragged down heavily by too much plot
  5. No leading lady eclipsing his acting—sorry, miming
Gosling's character lives in L.A. He's been there awhile, but you wouldn't really notice him. He wants to be part of the scenery. Let's be honest, the camera likes Ryan Gosling. It doesn't mean that the movie can abandon a poorly written script to distract us with shiny scenes that one would see in a three page fold out in Vogue.

We are blessed with a 1980's font opening. This film is purposely vintage, which is a beautiful quality. Sadly, that's one of the few things in its favor. Gosling's character has three jobs. His first job requires him to be a stunt driver in movies. He also occasionally works on cars as a mechanic. Kind of dirty work, but stunt driving's cool. His third job has even greater potential. He moonlights as a getaway driver. The opening sequence with Gosling in his gloves listening to a baseball game is fascinating and thrilling.

He also does a lot of leaning.
Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, the film takes a downward spiral. Gosling is semi-stalked by a woman that looks about 12 who lives down the hall from him, and it is clear that Gosling wants to rescue her. She's sweet, she's broke, she has a kid, her car sucks, all the filmmaker destiny for a zany relationship.

Except for her husband. He's a tough guy who's made some bad deals. Instead of Gosling seeing this as either the chance to look good next to a loser or biding his time for this guy to make his inevitable trip back to prison or wind up in an alley somewhere, Gosling sees this as an opportunity. “I can do what I do best for this guy. I can DRIVE! I'll get to be a hero, and this family gets to be happy! At the end of the day, I can return to my unromantic, pathetic lifestyle and feel good about myself—albeit miserable. That's okay, because I like being miserable. If I'm lucky, I can sit at the table, while my crush stares at her husband while sneaking glances at me, and I can hope to maybe be his friend. Or just listen to their music in my room. Either way, this sounds like my idea of a good time.”

Oh no, but something goes wrong! Just as I was being pulled back into the story, Gosling makes a number of nonsensical choices, and suddenly he's in deep water. Bring in some creepy creatures and a twist we all see coming. Watch Gosling be depressed and make more strange choices. Roll credits.

I'm not sure why this film received such high accolades from critics. Despite the cinematography, I'm not sure why anyone would vote it for best anything. Even if you took the classic movies that a film like this seeks out as role models, they're all far superior. He ain't no Marlon Brando, and this ain't On the Waterfront. He couldn't be a contender! No matter how little he speaks! Which reminds me, why don't you want Gosling to say words!? Why do you let him get into situations where talking could have gotten him out of sticky situations? I kept waiting for a counselor to walk onto the screen in a secret after school special moment and tell the characters, “If only you'd communicated and made good choices, you wouldn't be here.”

In addition to being sad and bored, this actress looks twelve.
Unfortunately, that would make for an interesting and exciting film. Not one that builds up a buttercup just to let her down. If you replaced the lead and any of the other characters with hand puppets, they would be less handsome, but equally effective. I don't think they had anything else to do for a year, and for some reason, the writer didn't feel that puppets would accurately display a moving car commercial. He should have gone with hamsters.

Conclusion: Drive? It has none.


  1. Wow, I just looked it up. Carey Mulligan, the actress who looks 12, she's 26.

  2. Right!? I was like, "This child cannot have a child, and Ryan Gosling is cradle robbing in this movie."

  3. Prof. Farnsworth, Futureama: "Some say I'm robbing the cradle, but I say she's robbing the grave!"