Movies I Liked: Drive

I thought I’d never forgive Ryan Gosling after “Blue Valentine”. I thought I’d never be able to sit through one of his crappy movies again. Then along came “Drive” and now I don’t want to punch the guy in the face (as much) anymore.

MINOR SPOILER ALERT!

Drive” follows the Driver (Gosling) as he tries to make right with some gangsters so he can protect his girl. It’s the usuaI duffle bag full of money, car chases and flying bullets moviegoers have come to expect from the genre. I know, you’ve seen this movie a hundred times. But you haven’t seen it like this.

There’s a slew of awesome actors in this movie: Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman and Christina Hendricks (whose death will haunt your dreams later). Oh, and I guess there’s Ryan Gosling, too.

Gosling doesn’t have much dialogue and that’s alright by me. He talked plenty in that other unmentionable movie. To make up for his lack of dialogue, he walks or drives around beating the shit out of a whole colorful cast of gangsters including (Ron Perlman). In case you were wondering, not once during the entire movie did Ron turn into Hellboy. Which is kind of sad because I was really hoping for a Hellboy cameo in a Ryan Gosling movie. I was disappointed when it wasn’t in BV because that movie needed Hellboy to save it from itself. While I wasn’t happy with this sans-Hellboy situation, I was too distracted by “Drives” intense violence to let it seriously irk me.

Which brings me to the intense violence. This movie is chock full of blood, fists and bullets. And all of that can be a bit jarring. It’s not like watching a horror movie. You’re expecting blood and gore to be flying all over the place. But in Drive, the violence acts as a character itself. It is necessary. Gosling’s character doesn’t start out as a gangster killing badass. He drives cars for the movies, steals a few on the side and is pretty much your typical black hat with a white heart. But once things start going wrong and Gosling gets caught up trying to protect his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son, he starts sliding head first into a dark pit.

The violence acts as a wedge between Gosling and any hope of a normal life with Irene and Benicio. Irene is horrified by what the Driver is doing (despite the fact he’s doing it to protect her and her son) and any affection she has toward him quickly dissipates.

Meanwhile, there’s no turning back for the Driver. Once Gosling kills a couple of gangsters he’s in it for the long haul, despite his best attempts to make things right and step away. There is no escaping the violence. Thus, while the violence acts as a wedge between him and a normal life, it also acts as a driving force that pushes him through his struggles and ends up saving his life.

All in all, this movie grabbed me. Unexpectedly, even. I actually set aside the blog I was writing because I was too engrossed by what was going on. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an excellent dark, disturbing story come from Hollywood. Watching the Driver stroll around in his blood splattered scorpion jacket administering vigilante justice to the evil was just what I needed to get the machismo pumping.

Good on you, Ryan Gosling. Good on you.

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About Universal Shift

I am the Sonata Unusual. I coat myself with some obtuse angle too far below zero to become any warmer. I create motivation, activate schemas, moisten gardens with scents of natural honeydew. Construct this meaning, you sleepy flock. Silence your singing—despairing contortions out of tune. Shatter the brittle butterfly glass with your hideous wailing. I am born of my god’s imagination. When I die I shall meet him. For there are many things to discuss over tea…or scotch.

Posted on February 12, 2012, in Author, Movies, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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