One Hell of a Staring Match : Drive Movie Review

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Special effects, graphics heavy opening and ending credits, synthesized explosions, haunting background music – these are elements of a regular thriller movie, at times considered cliché by some critics …all of which are not present in Director Nicolas Wending Refn’s Drive.
Drive is about a Hollywood stunt performer who sidelines as a getaway driver. The unnamed lead played by Ryan Gosling who was usually referred to as “the driver”, “the kid” and “him” falls in love with his beautiful neighbor Irene (Carey , Mulligan), a young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac).
This film is a breath of fresh air after the moviegoing public were repeatedly bombarded by graphics heavy but thoughtless thrillers. In other words, it defied all the staples of a thriller film. From the 80’s feel and soundtrack to the pink-colored title in Monotype Corsiva, you’ll know that you are in for a unique movie experience.
The high powered chases lacked the equally high powered soundtrack. But surprisingly, the gripping silence while waiting if the cops will catch them, sound of the cars screeching is enough to keep you at the edge of your seat.
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There are remnants of Quentin Tarantino and Michael Mann’s Collateral apart from others.There was a mix of different inspirations in Nicolas Wending Refn’s work. He made good use of songs that doesn’t seem appropriate for the scene but miraculously worked. Drive made use of the beauty of silence and reading between the lines – from Gosling and Mulligan’s flirtations to the gripping silence while waiting for Standard (Oscar Isaac) to get into the car after robbing a bank, it ultimately worked for the movie...and then some - there are times when the “staring matches” is unnecessary at times that I can’t help but exclaim “now what” while waiting for the punch line.
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I love how one character’s piece of clothing becomes an entirely new character as it embodies the actor’s state of mind. And the cars, who will forget about the cars Gosling smoothly used – from the Chevy, to the other cars my girly mind is not aware of (and is not that interested to know more of).
My only wish is that the holes in the story were answered. There are unpolished scenes that made me wonder how the character went from here to there. But I can forgive these little flaws after Ryan Gosling gave his best performance to date. He is the only actor I know who effectively showed variations of loving, frightened, anxious, furious stares. His character do not have a back story, but his portrayal exemplified profound meaning and depth.
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Overall, the movie works best for the filmgoer who would like to watch something that would channel their brain cells, test their analytical skills or simply wants to watch something extraordinary. Not for the filmgoer who wants a light-hearted, fun film and gets easily bored by lengthy sequences.
"Drive" opens on Nov 9 exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas -- Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3 and Trinoma.

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