Title: “Drive″

Rating: 10 out of 10 (This is a “classic” in my eyes)

Movie Details: View here

Summary:

A mysterious Hollywood stuntman, mechanic and getaway driver lands himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.

Story:

Gosling’s character (who doesn’t have a name; people call him “kid” or “the driver” and the character is listed as “Driver” in the credits) helps his neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan) and gets emotionally close to her and her son, Benicio.

When Irene’s husband, Standard, returns from jail and owes protection money to some crooks, Driver helps him do a heist to repay his debt.  But when things go sour during the heist, Driver finds himself and Irene in deep trouble with the mob.  Driver goes to extreme lengths to protect Irene and her child.

What worked:

Jeez, what didn’t work???  This is more than a movie; it’s an experience.  It’s a classic.

And I’ve been asking myself, “What makes a movie an experience?  What defines a movie as a classic?”  And to me, a big part of the answer is the soundtrack.  Sure, if a movie has incredible cinematography, you will remember it fondly, but if a movie has both amazing cinematography AND a holistic soundtrack, the movie sticks with you on a deeper level. Just like smell is the strongest of the five human senses for memory, the soundtrack/hearing must be the most powerful in that of the film world (since smell is currently not an option).

Think about any movies you consider to be classics – “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Star Wars”, “The Mission”, “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Lord of the Rings”, “Fight Club”, “The Breakfast Club” … these movies invoke a certain nostalgic feeling in most people, I would dare to assume, and I think it’s because of four components:

  • Story
  • Characters
  • Cinematography
  • Soundtrack

But the soundtrack, I believe, really helps to cement the movie in the viewer’s memory and psyche more deeply than the other three components.  But let’s examine those other components of this movie:

Cinematography – Of course, gorgeous and breathtaking.  The director, Nicolas Winding Refn, does an amazing job using the LA sun to create warm emotions during soft and tender moments.

Soundtrack – One of the biggest things that makes this movie more an experience than a movie.  It’s so different and impacting.  Heavy bass and 80s electronic elements make this movie seem like the movie the 80s never had.  I’m currently in love with the main song of the movie, “A Real Hero”, by College.

Characters – It’s really great to see Gosling as this lone cowboy badass, and so many of the characters being who they are more so with their body language and not with their dialogue.  It’s always a great change of pace to see a movie with limited dialogue, because, if done right, you’re forced to pay attention to other ways the actors have to express their feelings, motivations, and motives.  For a similar dialogue-light movie, check out “Hunger“.

What didn’t work:

While I hesitate to write anything here, I must admit that the story was not original.  A cowboy meets a girl, falls in love, protects girl from ruthless enemies.  In fact, one of the two things that didn’t work for this movie are the story and the trailers.

Looking back, I remember reading the plot description of “Drive” on IMDB.com and seeing the trailer, and not being impressed at all.  And I think it’s because, like I said earlier, the story is so unoriginal, but also because the trailer sadly does a horrible job at communicating the awesomeness of this movie.  I’m a huge fan of trailers, because I think they provide such insight to a movie.  They are the 2-min elevator pitch, the clincher, the lure, the hook that needs to draw people in to spend money to see this movie.  And so the trailer producers have to do a really good job.

The Bottom Line:

You need to see this movie.  Your friends need to see this movie.  Your family needs to see this movie.  This is a classic, in case I have not made that clear enough already.

Prudes might not like the movie because of sporadic moments of gratuitous/satisfying violence, but I can’t imagine anyone denying the beautiful cinematography, soundtrack, and overall quality of this movie.

Have you seen it yet?  Do it now.

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