Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Drive

Drive is a jolt of aesthetic pleasure the likes of which I can’t recall since Michael Mann’s Miami Vice. Like Vice, it breaks free from the confines of plot and turns what might have been a straightforward genre picture into a wholly original and evocative vision. Some critics have noted that Drive feels like an updated version of Taxi Driver, as both films are about an isolated driver (played in Drive by Ryan Gosling) who carries out a violent fantasy to save a woman. Others have observed that it channels 80s pop cinema (particularly Risky Business), with its sprawling pink title lettering and 80s-infused synth tunes. Both are true, but the list of the film’s thematic and stylistic influences runs much deeper. Drive is a pastiche of disparate styles and genres, gleaning outmoded cinematic dressings and repurposing them onto a splashy canvas of mood and color. Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s precise, sumptuous compositions coupled with a hypnotic soundtrack imbue the proceedings with a dreamy atmosphere that contrasts well with the guarded emotions of the characters. As the performances go, Albert Brooks stands out as a producer-turned-mobster who dispenses with his enemies with casual ease. His portrayal of controlled psychosis is frightening and masterful, and it is one of Drive’s many lyrical touches. (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011) ***½

1 comment:

Christopher Young said...

I'm pleased that someone else got aesthetic pleasure from Miami Vice the film. Interestingly (to me anyway), when I saw Drive, I was immediately transported to the aesthetics of Vice the TV show (of which I was and am a big fan). I felt after watching Drive that it had Michael Mann written all over it, in a good way.