Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I must be getting old. I just re-watched a movie that had an 80's style soundtrack, an 80's style budget [$15 million] and ran for just a little over 90 minutes.

It was a remarkable piece of film - nearly unexpected in every way. It's the story of a wheelman/auto-mechanic/stunt driver who falls for the 'young mom next door' only to see his dreams taken from him because of greed and fear.

This is a slick film. Ryan Gosling dominates by silence, letting what he does NOT say scream at you. If you are a child of abuse, if you understand sub-text, if you understand cinematography, you are going to like this film.

Haunting, haunted, hunted, hated, Gosling's character is FAR more than meets the eye. I swear it was as if The Batman had a love-child by Ellen Page. Don't let the boyish good looks fool you.

It is also strangely compassionate even to the most obnoxious villains: you see their fears and flaws and in brilliant two-scene performances by the likes of Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman [remember Beauty and the Beast, you romantics of the 80's?], you understand these men were boys once - and had dreams of being loved, accepted and respected - and life just has not turned out that way.

What keeps them unredeemed for their sins, unlike our nearly anti-hero Boy Driver, Ryan Gosling?

He wants only to be loved - and money is NOT part of that need.

Look, my ADD is kicking in, 'cause I am gushing - but this film NAILS the tragedy of many human motivations - and how our secret sins are our undoing - and how our secret nobilities may hold the key to some form of redemption.

I mean I KNOW Christ redeems us - but He can only speak to a heart that will listen - and those noble hearts are rare. Good men do dastardly things and bad men can show strange sympathy at times. Drive covers that ground nicely.

One of the most effective visual/song bricolages in the film is found here - where a lovely old style torch song is is used as the Driver appears in a mask, spies on the man he will kill and then hunts him down. It is more than that, though. It is more than irony - for the song is singing of what he has lost and is losing because of this man - a passionate romance that sends [or would have sent] his heart into ecstasy instead of more violence and alienation.

Go rent Drive - you will not regret it.

There is a bittersweet victory in the end I will not reveal.

If you like your coffee black with a hint of sugar, you have the right taste for this film.


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