Posted in Cinema, DVD, English, Reviews by Suganth on February 17, 2012

A romance-cum-heist movie stripped to the bare essentials, Drive is every inch a director’s film

In Nicolas Winding Refn’s neon-hued, moody, violent, and at times, too arty Drive, Ryan Gosling plays a man with no name, simply referred to by the other characters as The Driver. He works in Hollywood as a driver for stunts, and also doubles up as a getaway driver by night time. Though it is never told, we infer that the mysterious driver loves to be behind the steering wheel and relishes the thrill of danger. Like Robert De Niro’s Neil McCauley in Michael Mann’s masterpiece Heat, The Driver has his own set of rules — a five-minute window for those soliciting his services and no relationships. But, inevitably, he meets Irene (Carey Mulligan), his neighbour, and the two get involved in a relationship that is forever inching towards romance. Though married (her husband is in prison) and with a son, Irene is attracted to The Driver and the two are most comfortable in the silences they share. Meanwhile, Irene’s husband returns but lands in trouble with a mobster. The driver offers to help and from hereon, Murphy’s Law takes charge. The plot isn’t new, a romance-cum-heist movie that is stripped to the bare essentials. But this is every inch a director’s film. Each scene, including those shot outdoors, has a distinct feel of being staged. The interactions between the characters are removed from reality. Characters are often shot through framing devices — mirrors, windows, doorways — indicating their being locked into their own set of rules and their inability to escape their fates. The score, by Clint Mansell, is mostly subdued, often silence and ambient noise filling in as sounds. Heads get blown, skulls are crushed by foot, arms slit open, eyes struck and throats slit… but even this visceral violence is so stylized, down to the steaks of blood running on Gosling’s face and jacket. Except for a shot containing brief nudity, the DVD contains all the scenes from the film. The special features include featurettes on the lead character, the romance between the lead pair, the stunts and a 30-minute feature that has Refn talking about the film. It is essentially a mini director’s commentary, that rather than playing over the film is shot on the director.

Copyright ©2012 Chennai Times

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