Drive

Drive ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Someone once said that Drive is what it would look like if Travis Bickle got to direct a movie about his life - and I still can't get this apt description out of my head. It's the kind of summary that makes me slightly jealous I couldn't come up with on my own lol. I mean the song that plays when The Driver is taking Irene and Benicio for a ride and when he drives off at the end is Electric Youth's A Real Hero - that would totally be the kind of deluded soundtrack playing in his head.


No one is a mind reader, we can only infer from patterns of behaviour. From his filmography and interviews, director Nicolas Winding Refn strikes me as guy who makes movies to amuse himself, and that's totally fine. I don't get the sense that he makes lurid and pulpy material to make some grand comment, at least not consciously. It's like he makes his movies in a fugue state a la David Lynch; where he paints in such broad strokes that the images manage to encompass so much more than meets the eye. Apparently Refn took a car ride with Gosling and somehow that played into his approach in conceiving the film? I hope their bromance is still strong - yes I was massively let down by Only God Forgives.


I personally think the Driver is both scorpion and frog like his now iconic jacket. I think he views himself as a badass predator when he wears that facemask towards the climax, in the vein of slasher villains like Jason Vorheees and Michael Myers. Yet we saw him quiver as he holds the hammer while talking to Nino on the phone from a low angle shot.....scorpion and frog.


So what I see in Drive, as an indictment of Hollywood romanticizing violent people as White knights in shining armour, could be purely happenstance and not what Refn intended. But that's what the best of art does: it gives to you whatever you bring to it.


Gosh this is almost nearing its 10th anniversary! Saw it in college and was probably the first real movie that made me change my opinion drastically on what action thrillers can be. I wanted another Fast and Furious, little did I know I was getting elevated schlock. If Pulp Fiction was the best B-movie out of Hollywood in the 90s, if Inglorious Basterds was the best of the 00s, then Drive is the greatest of the 10s.

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