September 21st, 2011

crossed heart


Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

I saw Drive tonight with my seeing-movie-girlfriend, based on the strength of its preview at last week's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark....just the preview made me know it was my kind of film. That, and the fact that it had Ryan Gosling in it.

It was fantastic. So much so that I had to come home and write about it here.

It had an intentional, legitimate 80's vibe to it, from the loving shots of the Driver -- Ryan -- thinking while he was driving, to the Tangerine-Dream-Vangelis sound track, to the pink italicized lettering of the credits, and the Driver's jean jacket, switched out frequently with a silk scorpion driving coat.

Other reviews will tell you about the plot, so I will be very brief -- the Driver's a part-time stunt man, part-time heist get-away driver, who gets overly involved in his neighbor's troubled family life.

The script was sparse, and every word was absolutely spot on. There's a part where the woman that the Driver's in love with is talking to her husband, and her husband's telling a joke about how they met based on his name -- Standard -- and how when they met she'd asked for the Deluxe model instead. Her husband is telling that joke because it's a cruel thing to do to a man who you know is in love with your wife, to make him hear stories of the times he hasn't had with her. But as the viewer there, with both of them sitting at the table, the husband howling, and the Driver's eloquent pause before a tight smile, you as the viewer know that the joke's on the husband because the Driver really is the Deluxe model -- not only of husbands, but in all things, most especially driving. The script is full of these moments, where a lesser writer would have drawn things out or overplayed their hand and not let the actors act -- or the viewers intuit.

Such good acting. So many pauses where words aren't needed because emotions are shared with breaths of air, shy glances, hopeful smiles.

Seeing this film made me realize how few films I've seen recently actually get the writing right, aren't able to rely on the actors to show any emotions, and don't trust the viewers further than they can throw a smoke grenade. This was such a refreshing change.

And people might not like the soundtrack, but I fell in love with it. There's just a way that a synthesizer can hold one note for an eternity while keeping a hundred other notes throbbing underneath, to make you hyper aware of the expansion of time, and its horrible contraction when you need it most. (Think of Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay getting it on in Risky Business.) I will be buying it as soon as it becomes available.

The violence was brutal and spectacular, visceral and real.

I loved it. I'll probably be dragging other people to see it before its run is through. Go see it in theaters while you can.