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14
Feb
12

Drive

First post, w00t.

Despite seeing Drive days ago, tonight was the first time I have discussed it since then. I thought it might be worthwhile to lay some of my thoughts out and see how they look, brace for boring.

I was at my so’s apartment and talking with her roommates, also my friends, when their dislike of Drive came up. I was a bit miffed as this was the first negative reaction to the film I had encountered as most of the online buzz was positive and I had enjoyed the film myself. Their chief criticism was the jarring scene in which Christina Hendrick’s character is lobotomized with a shotgun. Other than that they didn’t have a ton to say other than enjoying the first ten minutes, especially the scenes of driving. I cannot fault them for their criticism as I believe it chiefly stems from them feeling misled. For them the bloody death of Hendrick’s is the death of the romantic elements of them film leaving nothing but slow paced, gritty, and heavily stylized art-house drama.

I believe my friends went to go see a film that they thought was going to be something like the Notebook meets the Fast and the Furious, a romance with action elements or perhaps the opposite. Promotional materials reinforce such an image with the clean-cut Gosling dominating nearly all the posters, even looking a bit roguish with his leather driving gloves and low lighting.

About a minute into the pulsing, throbbing synths and very 80s inspired title card they probably realized something was up. They were most likely willing to ignore some of the awkwardness of the scenes of the Driver and his neighbor as they were able to ultimately fit them into a romantic framework (although I imagine this was something like the proverbial round hole square peg). Until the first scene of shocking, graphic violence, they were willing to wait for the romance to kick in, already there were hints of another man to compete for her heart (the husband and father of the child). As late as the heist scenes we are still more or less operating in an dramatic romance framework with the two competing men working together in a high stress situation to win the love of a woman.

The explosion of Christina Hendrick’s head in a shocking flood of gore destroys any chance of the film being a romance, other than perhaps a Natural Born Killers style disturbed romance. Before this moment they had to sense that something was amiss as the slow pacing made an action film increasingly unlikely. Perhaps the film was designed to be tricky, to bait an audience in with Gosling and a wide release, and fairly nondescript trailers.

I realize that these musing are incredibly presumptive and based on no more than 30 words exchanged between a few friends but I suspect that there may be at least some truth up there. I wrote them up because I think that they were not the only ones to be ‘betrayed’ by Drive.  For someone who went to this movie expecting a typical Hollywood flick the experience would be shocking,a  bit boring, and even distasteful. For full disclosure I enjoyed Drive and that which I didn’t like I was willing to overlook for aesthetics alone (I am guilty for doing this with Tron as well). The dark reimaginings of 80s imagery and sound matched the odd one-dimensional never sleeping Driver: dark, open, and out of time. I also happen to love Kavinsky, a veteran of the 2007-08 French electro explosion, and If anything the thing that bothered me the most was the Driver himself. He came off as somewhere between a deeply disturbed person and a high functioning Autistic person. Perhaps he was a bit of both?




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