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johnpweber

Drive

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Knowing a lot of you on RAW, if you get the chance, or if you don't, make time to go see Drive. This is one of those special films that 20 years from now, you will still watch. Think Taxi Driver(Travis and the Driver are similar), Heat(the way L.A. is magnificently shot) and John Hughes(Refn calls this his Hughes film) all rolled into one.

 

The story is about a stunt car driver who moonlights as a getaway driver. He is quiet and cool. Think Clint, McQueen or Paul Newman. He soon becomes friends with his neighbor and single mother (for the moment) and through his work partner, he is drug into business with a small time gangster played to perfection by Albert Brooks. The neighbor's husband is let go from prision early and is entangled with thugs that are connected back to Ron Pearlman and Albert Brook's characters. Brooks is shockingly terrifying in this roll, and proves he can be a bad ass. Hell, he's more frightening than Ron Pearlman. Case in point, the "You ask me to clean your mess, now you can clean mine" scene.

 

This film is shot beautifully, the colors amazing, the lighting perfect. This is noir done right. The pacing is steady, a bit slow, but not boring. The violence is built up and explosive. Think Leone, only with cars instead of horses. Ryan Gosling's Driver is a modern day Travis Bickel. Nice, quiet, but when that spark is struck, a demon is let loose. If you have yet to see a Nicholas Winding Refn film, make this your first. The guy is going to be one to watch. With Bronson, Pusher and Valhalla Rising, now Drive under his belt, he is a name worth looking out for.

 

Of all the films I have seen this year, and ones I'm planning on seeing, I can tell this is going to be my favorite. I don't think I have had an experience like this since after the first time I saw Taxi Driver. It's going to take a hell of a film to beat this one for me this year. Like I said, if you don't have plans to see it, make some. You won't regret it.

 

On a side note, a lot of folks at work have no desire to see this based on the t.v. spots, then I directed them to this and changed their minds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrDRdna-Rxg&ob=av3e

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Guest AdminGuyX

John, I love you buddy, but comparing Ryan Gosling with Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Robert Deniro, and Paul Newman is against the board rules. Well, it is now.

 

;)

 

I don't buy him in the role. The red band trailer didn't change my mind. And, am I mistaken, but was he going to hit a bullet with a hammer? Really?

 

Despite my misgivings about the lead actor, I do plan to see this one.

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I don't think Ryan is as good as Clint and the others, but character wise, the Driver fits in with The Man With No Name, Bullit, ect... That's what I was trying say :D

 

I never saw The Notebook, but knowing of it, the casting seemed a bit off, but it works. Same for casting Albert Brooks as a bad guy. He's just friggen mean in this.

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John, I love you buddy, but comparing Ryan Gosling with Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Robert Deniro, and Paul Newman is against the board rules. Well, it is now.

 

;)

 

I don't buy him in the role. The red band trailer didn't change my mind. And, am I mistaken, but was he going to hit a bullet with a hammer? Really?

 

Despite my misgivings about the lead actor, I do plan to see this one.

 

This is easily Gosling's best role, he has a quiet cool about him in the movie. You know Hugh Jackman was originally the lead for the movie way back when, and after seeing it, I don't think he could have pulled it off. And as for the hammer/bullet thing there's context for the bullet and why he's going hammer it into the guys skull.

 

Also, it has Albert Brooks brutally stabbing people, never in a million years did I expect to see that in a movie.

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Guest AdminGuyX

I know the context. They give the context away in the trailer. He gave it to the kid. It's a threat. My point is that if you hit a live round with a hammer, it explodes. It will blow your hand to pieces if you're holding the damn thing.

 

But, it has Gosling being cool, so I'm not going in expecting realism.

 

ZING! ;)

 

Other than Gosling, it has a bunch of actors I really do like. Brooks stabbing someone doesn't mean a thing to me though, but I do get your meaning, and agree.

 

Jackman would have brought a very different kind of energy to the film, no doubt.

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I'm not a fan of Gosling either, but he pulls of the role really well. Especially when his character is required to do some ugly things.

 

Also, I gotta add the soundtrack is pretty great.

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No worries on the bullet thing, Noeland ;)

 

Gosling aside, the film is dark, gritty, and realisic. Refn has an artisitc flair to his style, but it's with all his films, not just a one-off. He takes the time to get amazing shots, lighting and colors. It's not a lot of fancy, how many ways can we spin the camera type film, it's just shot excellent. As I mentioned before, the camera work reminds me a lot of some of the stuff Michael Mann has done, specifically Heat, The Insider and Collateral.

 

Forget Ryan is in this, and I think you'll be surprised by the results.

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Ryan Gosling is an exceptional actor. He takes risks. He enjoys doing both big and small films. I love him in Crazy, Stupid, Love, Stay, and Lars and the Real Girl.

 

He's able to play light-hearted characters, as well as, dark. The Ides of March looks like it'll be good, too.

 

Plus, as an added bonus, he's easy on the eyes. ;)

 

 

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Guest AdminGuyX

Yeah, I didn't enjoy it. Sorry John. I have very specific problems with a lot things that happened in the film, but I don't want to post spoilers, so I will refrain from getting into a blow by blow of that stuff.

 

I didn't hate it, but the film was too slow and arthouse for my tastes. I found myself dozing off by the time they got to the pawn shop. I do have avante garde films I enjoy, but this one just didn't work for me. I didn't like the 80's aesthetic. I hated the music/songs used in it. I didn't care for the abstract nature of Goslings character at all. He didn't play as quiet cool for me. I saw him as a shy, awkward loser. I thought he was creepy in some of the scenes where he was not supposed to be creepy. I really do not see the man with no name comparisons. Anybody comparing him to Steve McQueen needs to go back and watch Bullitt again. Taxi Driver I can see, but I've never much found that character "cool". He was damaged, and mentally ill.

 

I found it incredibly predictable. I was disappointed in how predictable it was. Granted, this is not a film about story. The story was secondary. This is an exercise in style to the point of it being almost entirely style over substance. A lot of people cry foul when films are style over substance, but I guess when you wrap it in dreamy sequences of an old car driving in a reservoir, and long shots of people putting their sunglasses in their pocket staring at nothing, it some how elevates it? I don't know. I enjoyed some of the shots, some of the camera work, but when the film is not clicking for me overall, it's lost. Gosling was cardboard. Having a lack of expression doesn't equate cool. Not talking doesn't mean anything unless we have some sort of connection to who the character is. I felt zero connection with the driver. None. It seemed like he wasn't talking much because he wasn't very smart. Hell, Nino even calls him on it. But my feeling, I don't think Gosling was trying to play him cool and intense. I really think he was playing him as a mentally ill person with no social skills who struggles to interact with other people.

 

Shannon was the standout character for me. Cranston stole every scene he was in. I liked Brooks in the film, but Brooks and Perlman's characters were just paper thin. The actors did what they could to work in some depth, but again, it was lost on me.

 

I thought about Hill's film "The Driver" a whole lot during this film. The opening sequence made it impossible for me not to. He "borrowed" a lot from this sequence for that opening:

 

 

I don't think the director has been shy about that though. I know he's been open about the influences (commercial and arthouse) that played into this film for him. My buddy Dave liked the movie more than I did, and walking out I said "I'm not saying it's a bad movie. It's a well thought out film. I'm just saying despite that, I didn't like it."

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A lot of people seem to come to the conclusion that the Driver is mentally ill, which I can understand but can't really go along with. Being a quiet person shouldn't/doesn't automatically equal autistic and socially awkward, then again it is Refn so maybe it is what he was going for. Maybe the DVD commentary.

 

Here's a pretty good interview with Refn about Drive.

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Guest AdminGuyX

I agree. Being quiet doesn't mean you're mentally ill. Maybe it's just Goslings performance, and his off kilter sensibilities that gave me that feeling. But I got it multiple times in the film. That he wasn't choosing to be quiet, that he was just not able to converse with people. I read an article with Refn a few weeks back that talked about him wanting to give The Driver a very stark split personality, but that was toned way down.

 

I have no doubt that they created a background for the character too, to inform Goslings performance.

 

It's interesting to read that Nino was basically someone in the background before they gave him quirky traits. I didn't much care for the way Perlman was lit in a few shots too.

 

Honestly, this being a total home run for Jweb, I'm hesitant to post any more negative comments.

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Sorry you didn't like it, but to each their own. Don't feel bad about posting negative comments, that's the fun part of film, each get our own opinions. I too felt Nino was a wasted character. Other than it's Ron Pearlman, they didn't do anything with Nino to make me think he was dangerous. Bernie on the other hand, the fork scene showed what he could do. Cranston was amazing. He was a natural in that character. It felt like they just filmed Shannon, no on acting that part.

 

The only part in comparison that I agree with on comparing Driver to some of Clint and Steve's characters is that he's not about talking, he's about taking action. For me, he was closer to Travis Bickle, he seems like a nice guy, but there is something below the surface not quite right thats making it's way out.

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Noeland and I don't always agree on films...but this time I agree with him 100%, except I did hate this film while he comes up shy of hating it. I just thought it was horrible through and through. The second half couldn't save the brutally slow first half for me. Honestly, they lost me right away when RG showed up in that stupid jacket and his love affair with driving gloves. I agree with JWeb, to each his own, just nothing about this film worked for me.

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A lot of differing opinions on the film. Mainly because it's not necessarily all-user friendly.

Noeland is right, it IS a bit of an art-house film, which is one of the many reasons I loved it.

Folks dismissed films like Taxi Driver for the very same reasons, and that's OK. Like someone else here said, to each his/her own ;)

And yes, I did compare the film to a classic because it's my honest opinion that DRIVE is a modern masterpiece, if not a bit of a throw-back masterpiece.

 

I'll take a dozen filmmakers like Refn over the current Hollywood wish-list.

 

Never been a fan of Gosling, not that I didn't recognize his talent, I sometimes am just not a fan of a certain actor or actresses' screen presence - You all have your share of talented actors you don't care for either ;)

DRIVE may have evened me out on that score. I thought Gosling was brilliant, and I loved his understated performance.

 

Maybe you have to be in the right frame of mind to embrace this film.

For me, I was absolutely ready to become absorbed in a character study wrapped up in some action and tenseness.

Hell, I'm always ready for that, especially when it's done right.

 

You may not be a fan of this film for whatever reason, but I'd hope those on the downside of digging DRIVE can at least recognize superior filmmaking when it's flashing in front of them.

Just think of all the standard dreck we get fed on a regular basis and then compare it to a film like DRIVE.

I'm not talking about the kind of film that slakes the thirst for the perfect film (think Shawshank).

I'm talking about something we rarely see anymore because Hollywood simply won't finance these types of 70's films/character studies anymore.

It took a guy building credibility and and a steadfast and uncompromising style to create.

Hollywood wooed Refn, and he got to do it his way.

 

It's not killing at the box office because it is so unconventional.

A lot of times that gets you a ticket back home as a director.

In Refn's case, DRIVE is opening the door to bigger budgets.

Drive was shot for a low-bueget tag of 15M and it's close to hitting 30M - A success.

Refn's going nowhere but up.

I hope you are along for the ride ;)

 

Special cheers to Mike V who turned me on to Refn a while ago with his Pusher Trilogy.

I'm also a huge fan of Valhalla Rising and Bronson ;)

 

- tb

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Glad to hear I got you into a great and interesting filmmaker Tim.

 

Neil Marshall and Hugh Jackman were originally going to make this film, and I like them both, but I can't help but think they would have just made a run of the mill standard action/thriller. So I'm glad Refn got the gig, and Refn is moving up, he's supposed to be doing the Logan's Run remake.

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Come on the look of the Driver was awesome.

 

 

It seems every film site has a giveaway for the jacket. I'm signed up for quite a few ;)

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The jacket was some kind of nod to one of Refn favorite existential films. "Scorpio" or some such. Apparently the film overall was a tribute to Alejandro Jodorowsky of El Topo fame. Not real surprised by that one.

 

Maybe you have to be in the right frame of mind to embrace this film.

 

This is what my friend Dave said when he realized I wasn't thrilled with the flick. He added "If you'd seen this without ever having seen a second of film before, or knowing anything about it, you'd of liked it." And I just nodded my head NO. I liked very little about this one, and my frame of mind was open. I was ready to like it.

 

Just think of all the standard dreck we get fed on a regular basis and then compare it to a film like DRIVE.

 

I see your point. I don't really consider films that way. I honestly don't feel DRIVE is a masterpiece. I can see Refn's choices as a director, and they don't push my buttons. But, I'm not a crazy fan of his work like you guys are either. Is he good in comparison to other writer and directors? He's just different, IMHO.

 

For me, I was absolutely ready to become absorbed in a character study wrapped up in some action and tenseness.

Hell, I'm always ready for that, especially when it's done right.

 

This wasn't a character study though. It told us very little about about the individual characters. Almost nothing. But, this goes back to the film being existential. I think the the characters were secondary to the existential aspect of the film. I think everything was. In some cases, that works for me.

 

Neil Marshall and Hugh Jackman were originally going to make this film, and I like them both, but I can't help but think they would have just made a run of the mill standard action/thriller.

 

I agree. Marshall certainly doesn't make artistic films in the way Drive is artistic. It probably would have been a 90 minute car chase.

 

 

 

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It seems every film site has a giveaway for the jacket. I'm signed up for quite a few ;)

 

All the ones include some fucking Twitter component, I don't do Twitter so I'm kinda fucking annoyed.

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