We live in society today where the manic pace of life keep us ever so restless, and we often take this restlessness to the movies, demanding fast-paced, choppily-cut action scenes (thanks, Michael Bay, Jason Statham, the Bourne franchise…).
“Drive” is the antidote that Hollywood seldom provides, a noir-drama film that takes its time, keeping dialogue to a minimum and let the actors’ expressions do the talking. I can already imagine impatient viewers saying throughout, “why aren’t they saying anything? why is the camera still for so long?” Read their faces, my friends, and take note of why the camera is pointing in certain directions; it’s where the essence of filmmaking lies.
The movie is poetry in motion; a perfect assortment of quietness and love mixed with car chases and bloody violence. The script was solid, and the camera work created tension and suspense. I found myself immersed in a character-driven drama that stayed consistent all the way through.
Having seen this film almost two years after its release, I found myself comparing “Drive” to “Jack Reacher,” the crime-action box office hit from last winter which starred Tom Cruise. It feels to me like “Drive” is the movie that “Jack Reacher” strove to be. While “Jack Reacher” is a decent film, it failed to achieve the emotional connection that “Drive” did because it put too much emphasis on plot twists, and the titular character became less compelling amidst all the plot explanations.
“Drive” was Ryan Gosling’s film. Director Nicholas Winding Refn knew when to let go of the plot pedal, and let Gosling cruise in the driver’s seat with charm and aplomb. There was a point in the story where the screenwriters could have taken the film to a different direction regarding some East Coast gangsters, but doing so would have convoluted the plot, and risked robbing the audience of their feelings for the characters established earlier in the film.
To those who walked into “Drive” expecting “The Fast and the Furious,” I’m sorry you wanted the latter because the former represents a higher class of film craft. If you missed this when it came out in 2011, I totally recommend it.