Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Drive (2011) - Review

This is such a unique movie. So unique that I'm surprised that it got so much attention and so well; usually odd films like this tend to flounder at the box office.  But this is a very well-done homage to the 80s.  It's something that's not done too much, and almost never done as well as it is here.

The plot itself is incredibly straightforward, and therein lies the charm.  It really relies almost completely on atmosphere to get its rather simplistic story across, often choosing quieter and more subtle moments over the loud and bombastic nature of its fellow action movies.  Scenes are given the chance to really flow, and although there isn't that much dialogue in the movie, the characters feel well-developed because there's time for us to get to know them emotionally, albeit not through dialogue.

The acting, overall, is pretty good, by the way.  Ryan Gosling gives a quiet but expressive performance; he can really say a lot with just a look (which makes him perfect for this movie, as it tends to follow that trend) and does a great job throughout.  The rest of the cast is good too, especially Bryan Cranston as Gosling's employer and mentor of sorts.  The only person who seems out of place is Ron Perlman.  His performance is pretty over-the-top, especially early on in the movie, and it's difficult to tell whether he's just a bad actor or it was done intentionally to fit along with the 80s-ness.  I'm guessing the latter, but either way, it's sort of an annoying performance.

Add in some beautiful shots, complete with unnatural yet creative lighting, and the film almost becomes surreal in places.  Of course, to yank us out of that surreality is a few spots of quite graphic violence.  I, for one, am a big fan of jarring tone shifts, and the juxtaposition of the violence with the rest of the movie worked pretty well.  Overall, it's a very well-made movie paying homage to the 80s.  Oh, and the soundtrack is synthy 80s awesomeness.  So why don't you "Drive" on down to the video store and pick it up?  Or something.

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