February 6, 2012

Movie Monday: Drive

Book CoverI'm not going to pretend that I'm the first book blogger to have a "Movie Monday." It's not the world's most creative name, after all. But I enjoy movies and thought it might be fun to try this out for awhile.

Drive, now available in DVD and Blu-Ray, was one of my favorite movies of 2011. I didn't know much about the story when I went to see it, which is the way it should be. (The trailer gives away several of Drive's surprises.) I only knew my best friend begged me to see it so that she would have someone to discuss it with. I can never resist pop culture that I might be able to dissect with someone.

Drive is obviously influenced by the 80's, from the neon pink credits to the synthpop soundtrack and score that brings to mind classic soundtracks like Thief done by Tangerine Dream. It is a shame that Cliff Martinez's score wasn't eligible for the Academy Awards, because the music in Drive works beautifully. (Apparently there was too much non-original material, which doesn't really make sense to me, since Ludovic Bource's score for The Artist was eligible. It contains music by Duke Ellington and others, as well as using the Vertigo score. Good music, but you can't say it was all written for the movie.)

In addition to great music, the cinematography of Drive will knock your socks off. It's a beautiful movie. Well edited, too. Many have accused Nicolas Winding Refn's film of being too technical and cold. I find his precision appealing and enjoyed the characters, good and bad, too much to consider the film cold.

Drive's cast includes Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaacs, Ron Perlman, and Christina Hendricks. It's a long list of recognizable names used well. While Drive is set in Los Angeles, you'll never feel that anyone looks too Hollywood. You might not believe this if you've seen the trailer, but the acting is subtle. These are not people who wear their emotions on their sleeves, but that doesn't mean they aren't being driven by their passions.

If you like movies with chase scenes, you might find Drive frustrating at first. Refn goes for something more real than constantly exploding cars. But if you like love stories or noir films and can handle a bit of creative violence, you'll love Drive.

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