Sunday, 2 December 2012

Film Review: Drive

About the film
Drive is a neo-noir crime drama film which was released in 2011. The film is rated 18 due to violence and bad language and it has a run time of 100 minutes. Drive is based on the 2005 novel of the same name by James Sallis.

The main character of the film, an unnamed man (The Driver) works several jobs - he's a stuntman, a mechanic and a getaway driver. Everything he does has to do with driving cars. He's a quiet kind of guy but a meeting with a neighbour begins to bring him out of his shell. Irene's husband is in prison and is left to raise their child on her own but The Driver keeps them both company. At the same time, The Driver's boss at the garage is attempting to set up a racing team, using The Driver as the main man. However, in a world full of gangs and mobsters, The Driver finds himself in deeper than he ever imagined and sees no way out of the trouble he has gotten himself into.

What I thought
I've wanted to watch this film for quite some time now, basically because it stars Ryan Gosling and he's hot. Shallow, I know. Anyway, I finally got around to watching it with the boyfriend recently. However, Drive was not what I was expecting it to be at all.

The film starts off extremely slowly... well, I thought it did anyway. Apart from introducing the audience to The Driver and figuring out what his life is like, nothing much happens. After about an hour of just watching this, both of us were ready to turn the film off as we had no idea what the point was or what was happening. However, it wasn't all boring though in this first hour. Characters are introduced which gave a sense of mystery and suspense because I never knew why they were there or what they were going to do next. These characters wouldn't have been introduced for no reason so really it was just a waiting game.

I'm still not sure whether or not I was impressed with Gosling in this film. His character is extremely quiet so there isn't too much dialogue for him. His actions are quite subdued at times and very understated. Due to him not really doing much apart from driving throughout the first half of the film, there isn't much for me to judge him on. Also, his character is quite cold and as you don't know much about him, he doesn't give off a lot of emotions so he was also hard to read. This obviously isn't Gosling's fault though as he was only playing the character he was told to play.

Although I didn't really like the first half of the film, it did have some good qualities to it. Starring alongside Gosling is Carey Mulligan who plays love interest Irene. Again, there isn't much dialogue between Irene and The Driver so a lot of this film is atmospheric which is strengthened by a great soundtrack which makes the most of each scene. I feel that without such a strong soundtrack, I would have had this film turned off in 30 minutes or less. It's a strange thing to say that the music could have such a big impact but really, without the music, there wasn't much else at times. The music, especially in the scenes with Irene and The Driver, gave a sense of longing and forbidden feelings between the two characters and it helped me to understand how they were feeling, especially as their words didn't show this.

So, I said the first hour or so of the film was boring. Just when we were ready to give up on Drive, thinking it was a complete waste of time, something extremely unexpected happened and we both sat up a little straighter and paid more attention. The second half of the film sees a lot more action and violence which I didn't think I was going to get. The violence is the real reason that this film is rated 18 but without knowing anything about the film or plot beforehand, you could never guess this. Drive takes a dark and twisted turn but one which made the film so much better. Not just better, great. After things really began to happen, I realised that I actually really liked this film.

While Drive was not what I was expecting to watch, it was certainly different. It is a good artistic film but it did fall short of what I wanted it to be. With a good cast, cinematography and soundtrack, it is a wonderful film but it won't suit everyone's tastes.

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