Don’t believe the hype! Trailers can transform 90 minutes of vacuous, faux-motional garbage into a sexy, new thriller in 90 seconds. The trick is to cut out the parts you roll your eyes at.
This isn’t a popular opinion, to be sure. Drive promises something for everyone, but delivers much less in terms of story, dialogue, character . . .
Rarely does this critic read reviews. In looking for movie times, six reviews popped up, four of which mentioned film noir in the first sentence. Does this Ryan Gosling flick really exhibit any of the gritty realism, bebop or dark suits that define the dead genre?
Drive, instead, capitalizes on a pretty face gallivanting through LA in an obnoxious scorpion-printed Evil Knievel jacket, stepping through skulls in an elevator. The images must cohere somehow in the James Sallis novel upon which it’s based.
But let’s not knock the acting: Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Carey Mulligan (Sally Sparrow from Dr. Who) preside over this brooding, ’80s-style action/romance from Nicholas Winding Refn.
The primary problems with this picture lie with the script and the lead. A mysterious, quiet neighbor-hero wouldn’t take much to accept, allowing that the character is fleshed out somehow; a blank half-smile coupled with outbursts of violence won’t carry you through a whole movie sans narrative depth.
Camerawork is all this film has on its side, but the bag of tricks is shallow. Slow motion and a harsh spotlight won’t have a Lynch effect without compelling screen action to enhance.
Drive, instead, shows us a basic crash course in cheap, blockbuster film-making. Whatever is artful in the film comes off as shallow, while the violence and romance fail at capturing what is so grotesquely human about either. In short, the film is dull but it works very hard at convincing you it isn’t. And you loved it! Plus, it makes you wanna drive fast; and what’s good about that?