“Hey, do you want to see something?”
Minimal on the outside but engagingly tense on the inside, Drive might be a simple story about a driver with a good heart who works for those that have none but the style with which the film is delivered more than makes up for its basic premise. From the 80’s styled synthesizer tracks to the masterful directing, this is a film that not only looks good, it feels great as well.
The best aspect of Drive is its soundtrack. I’ve regularly listened to the songs well after I saw the movie and they make some fantastic driving tunes. More importantly, the tracks will take me back to the exact scene in the film, and this is the testament to how powerful the right music can be. Just like whenever I hear Stealers Wheels ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’, I instantly think of Reservoir Dogs; now whenever I hear Kravinsky’s ‘Nightcall’, I’m imagining myself in the same situation from Drive.
The same compliments in music selection should also extend to the direction because every scene was composed in a beautiful way. Nicholas Winding Refn takes a step above the rule of third and instead focuses on a quadrant like system to position his characters in certain frames of the scene. It’s subtle but it’s a nice touch revisiting this film and picking up the purposeful placements that he employs, which was all great for me to see as it added to the interesting style of the movie.
Whilst I may appear to rag on the story, I’m only saying that because the technical features of this film standout incredibly more so, but that isn’t to say that it’s not engaging throughout. Having a film only look good isn’t enough if the story behind it can’t match the visual quality that it’s being presented with. You only have to look at what happened to Nicholas Winding Refn’s next film Only God Forgives which had an abysmal plot but nevertheless looked just fine. Having a film just look good isn’t enough; if you have a bad story and goes to show what happened when Nicholas’s Winding Refn’s next film Only God Forgives which had an abysmal plot.
Thankfully with Drive, this didn’t happen, and instead, I could enjoy the characters played by Ryan Gosling and Carrey Mulligan. The former being one of my favorite actresses and is an acting powerhouse in almost anything that she does. Which are notable aspects to bring up because the story is fairly restrained with its dialogue, so the body language of characters often has to say a lot more than the few words that they do speak. I like when films can be at this level of minimalism since they are intentionally focused on being reserved and calculating, allowing me to infer more information from the performances and visual clues. It cleverly works well with the plot since Ryan Gosling’s character is a personification of being reserved but always calculating with his handling of any situation that he encounters.
This is very much a sleek and well-made film, which is what still attracts me to rewatch it every now and then. And hey, now you can do so even easier because it’s on Netflix in Australia and in the United States. So, if you think you’ve seen all the action films that have car chases in them but are looking for something less ridiculous than The Fast and Furious franchise, then look no further. See it.