In Contention

Tell us what you thought of ‘Drive’

Posted by · 10:06 am · September 16th, 2011

Lots has been written and spoken about “Drive” around these parts. Guy fell in love in Cannes. I hopped on board at Comic-Con. And now, it’s your turn to weigh in. The film opens nationwide today, and I imagine it’ll be a big priority for many of you. Come on back here when you get around to seeing it this weekend. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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178 responses so far

  • 1 9-16-2011 at 10:17 am

    Brock Landers said...

    Soooooo fucking good. If you’re not planning on seeing it, change your plans.

  • 2 9-16-2011 at 10:25 am

    Cameron said...

    This movie couldn’t be cooler if Steve McQueen was in it.

  • 3 9-16-2011 at 10:28 am

    alex barbatsis said...

    Loved it! Was a little worried it was too built up in my head (I’ve been following it ever since production!), but it lived up to all the hype.
    Totally got LA right, the syrupy sheen, the socioeconomic classes, a Clippers game! Only in LA do you hear about Clippers games!
    I also love how parred down the script was. The opening conversation with Shannon and The Driver states so much about their relationship. Loved everyone in it. Cannot wait to see it again!

  • 4 9-16-2011 at 10:43 am

    Keith said...

    I. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

  • 5 9-16-2011 at 10:55 am

    James Michael said...

    Saw an advanced screening last night…such a great experience. That opening sequence was so wonderfully shot; I was hooked from then on. Cinematography and writing were both the highlights for me; though I must say I really question the casting of Albert Brooks. Not exactly the best choice for the role, but I think he did a decent job nonetheless. So far it’s my top movie of the year.

  • 6 9-16-2011 at 12:46 pm

    Rashad said...

    Best movie of the year.

    Frivolous nitpicks:
    Could have used another car chase
    Sometimes, a little too cool
    Driver should have used a gun to kill Pearlman

  • 7 9-16-2011 at 12:47 pm

    Chris138 said...

    I actually thought Albert Brooks was sensational and gave the best performance in the film. I just got back from seeing it, and I liked it quite a bit, although I could sense just about everyone else in my theater feeling pretty disappointed. When I walked out I overheard a couple of guys saying how slow they thought it was, that Gosling stared a lot and didn’t have to remember many lines, and that they wouldn’t recommend it. Go figure.

  • 8 9-16-2011 at 1:04 pm

    Brock Landers said...

    I really don’t get how anyone could call the movie slow. I’ve heard a few people say that and I just don’t understand it. What part of the movie was slow?

  • 9 9-16-2011 at 1:06 pm

    Rashad said...

    Yeah, aside from that one scene where he and Carey stare at each other for what goes on for an awkward amount of time, the movie is really fast moving.

  • 10 9-16-2011 at 1:44 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    Probably – okay assuredly – contains my favorite elevator scene of all-time.

    No, but seriously, I can’t really say anything that anyone else hasn’t already said ad-nauseum sine May. It’s very tightly-wound, white-knuckle filmmaking, more of a thriller than an action film, but made with a precise, brutal punch that leaves a mark.

    Albert Brooks is fun, but for me Gosling is the star here, come on, people.

  • 11 9-16-2011 at 1:59 pm

    Rob said...

    As a crime film enthusiast, I responded to the way that Drive approached genre with a skewed angle. Every conversation finds rhythms and nuances that you don’t expect. And every action scene comes at you from a different direction. If you take these exact plot points, add in some more expositional dialogue, and put it in the hands of a more conventional director and more conventional actors, you get a boring, cliched piece of trash. But this film illustrates, more than many others, what a difference a director’s touch can make. The framing of shots and the movement of camera literally tell stories of themselves. Here, the cinematography is implicit in the narrative, not just an element to supplement it. A slap to the face or a clench of the fist says more than a monologue ever could. Absolutely loved it. But, Chris138, I heard similar complaints walking out of the theater. I’m not sure how audiences will respond.

  • 12 9-16-2011 at 2:08 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    The theater I saw it in today was filled with olds and they were groaning, I felt. One lady walked out during the bathroom scene. (I really don’t know if it was simply coincidental or if she was actively turned off by the violence.)

    @Rob – Totally get you. The film’s fundamentals are pretty timeworn, but the thing is pushed along and carried by Refn’s subtle hands and his unique vision. I was surprised to see that there aren’t very many action scenes, but honestly, the film extracts tension from so many places it doesn’t need a ten-minute car chase to draw us in.

  • 13 9-16-2011 at 2:17 pm

    Robert said...

    Can’t get this movie out of my head. Saw it three days ago. That’s the sign of something real. Gosling was great. If Albert Brooks doesn’t get a supporting actor award then all bets are off. Best movie so far this year.

  • 14 9-16-2011 at 2:22 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Personal theory to run by everyone:

    The elevator kiss happened in his head.


  • 15 9-16-2011 at 2:37 pm

    Rob said...

    Yeah, if you take the kiss literally, it seems out of place considering the character’s admission right before the elevator and Irene’s reaction to it. Not to mention the fact that the kiss goes on a little too long in a tense situation (i.e. the third person in the elevator).

  • 16 9-16-2011 at 2:44 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I find it very interesting that critics from the three biggest US cities all gave the film a negative review (New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune).

  • 17 9-16-2011 at 2:59 pm

    Matt King said...

    Loved it. Every minute of it. I’d love to see it again this weekend. It was so great. I just felt exhilarated afterwards.

  • 18 9-16-2011 at 2:59 pm

    Keith said...

    Kris, I’d very curious to hear your take on the reviews Speaking English references above. I expected critical reaction to be somewhat divided, but I wasn’t expecting it to be almost universally praised except for several of the headline critics.

    As for Gosling, I can’t help but delight in the fact that some audience members may be seeing the movie because of his turn in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Oh, boy, what a surprise Drive will be, probably not a good one for many of them! ha! And that is one of the reasons I love this guy. I just hope he keeps at the work pace he seems to have recently adopted. At this rate, he’s going to have a fascinating career.

  • 19 9-16-2011 at 3:05 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    @Kris – certainly makes sense given the dramatic lighting and music changes, and also that Gosling’s character would be putting himself at risk by doing it. Sound theory if you ask me.

  • 20 9-16-2011 at 3:14 pm

    Rashad said...

    The elevator kiss happened in his head.

    I thought that was his way of moving her to the side without drawing attention.

  • 21 9-16-2011 at 3:22 pm

    Evan said...

    Loved it from start to finish. Can’t wait to see it again. Unfortunately there was also a walkout and some groaning afterwards at my theater. Don’t understand how people aren’t loving this.

  • 22 9-16-2011 at 4:11 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Well, I hate the be the first, but it kind of went over my head. Not in the literal sense. I just mean, it didn’t do anything for me. I felt nothing.

    I saw the craftsmanship. I liked the music. L.A. looked great. The car chase was cool. The violence was probably my favorite part of the whole film.

    But in all honesty, I just didn’t care. The story felt stale (even tough the filmmakers tried to make it fresh). Some of the plot points were murky. I didn’t understand (or want to) why the Gosling character was like he was. Why the stunt driving, why the mechanic work, why the mysterious nature, why the blunt violence?

    I know many will say, ‘well, why not?’. But that’s just not good enough for me, as a viewer. And if he cared SO much about the Mulligan charcater & the son, I don’t know why he did some of the things he did in the final 10-15 minutes, or so.

    Also, the slow-motion shots and awkward silences nearly killed me.

    All that said, I’m quite sure I appreciated this film a lot more than anyone else in my theater. Disappointment was heard/felt everywhere. :(

  • 23 9-16-2011 at 4:41 pm

    Rashad said...

    Do what in the final 15 minutes? He tried to make it so that she’s safe for life, and did. The money is there, and the only people to know her are dead.

  • 24 9-16-2011 at 4:45 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    Yeah, what Gosling decides to do in the last 15 minutes is pure noir convention – take one for the girl. He’s saving her life!

  • 25 9-16-2011 at 5:02 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Really, I meant – without going into big spoilers – the walk to the car trunk for the bag. Couldn’t he have done that differently? The outcome of that didn’t have to be that way.

    I don’t know. Hey, I expected to and wanted to love this movie. I didn’t. I’m sad at that.

  • 26 9-16-2011 at 5:29 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    Loved it so much, I had to go see it again today. Warning- it’s not for the fainthearted. The previews make it seem like a studio action flick and it’s so much more brutal, superb, violent, and romantic than ANYTHING I have seen in the past few years. I went into the film knowing these things thanks to this site and other great film review sites but a few of my friends were nearly shitting their pants by the end of the film, having gone into it blindly.

    Side note, I get the feeling that Refn is a bit of an asshole. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is a supremely talented filmmaker but he comes off so… smug… or rude.. or a combination of both in a lot of interviews that I have seen and read. Not the most approachable kind of guy… especially when he is seated next to Gosling. Any thoughts, people of this thread?

  • 27 9-16-2011 at 5:32 pm

    Keith said...

    Hey Dana. Glad you liked it so much! What did your friends and others in the theater think? I read that the movie is doing slightly better business than they predicted, but I’m wondering if bad word of might cause a sharp drop off through the weekend.

  • 28 9-16-2011 at 5:48 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    A few of my friends were appalled by the violence but they were also the same ones who were convincing me to go see ‘I Don’t How She Does It’… so that’s that. The general consensus (including other theater goers who were in front of and behind me as we walked out) seemed to be very pleased. I didn’t hear anyone groan or see anyone walk out but there was A LOT of chatter when the credits rolled, as people immediately jumped into a discussion about the film (including the point Kris brought up a few entries above about the elevator kiss). I’m hoping it does solid business this weekend because it truly is the best thing in theaters and one of the best of the year.

  • 29 9-16-2011 at 5:49 pm

    Rashad said...

    Dana: He comes off, and looks like, a snotty version of Nolan.

  • 30 9-16-2011 at 5:51 pm

    Nicolo said...

    A little story: I had very high expectations going into the movie, so high that there was nowhere to go but down. After it ended, I wasn’t really sure what to think.
    The theater I went to is about a half hour from my house. So, on the drive home, I had the soundtrack blaring and it finally sank in that my high expectations were probably exceeded. Everything about it was just about perfect and meshed so well together. Maybe I’m still on a little adrenaline high, but I have to call it a masterpiece.

  • 31 9-16-2011 at 5:57 pm

    julian said...

    Dana Jones:

    Refn in person is not exactly a charmer! I am Danish, so I can tell you (I have followed him throughout his career) that even when speaking in his native tongue he sounds smug and oddly detached, but it is mainly because he feels uncomfortable when interviewed, I guess. He is, at the end of the day, an anti-social nerd, living and breathing through the medium of movies.
    He once appeared on a Danish talk show for five consecutive nights as a kind of fake “therapy session” talking about all of his insecurities and his real-life pain. It was excruciating TV, but brave in its own way. He cried on camera for several minutes.
    All I’m saying; he is a weird guy in the way that he mixes total detachment with raw, unflinching honesty. The mark of a true artist, you may say…

  • 32 9-16-2011 at 6:03 pm

    Keith said...

    Yeah, my take on Refn is that he’s not so much an asshole as a socially awkward, super intelligent brainiac guy who has spent most of his time watching movies and/or in his head.

  • 33 9-16-2011 at 6:03 pm

    Brock Landers said...

    Refn seems like a genuine and hilarious guy based on what I’ve seen (including a Q&A I attended at TIFF). I think things may get slightly lost in translation because his English isn’t 100%, but man he had the audience bursting with laughter during the intro and Q&A at TIFF.

  • 34 9-16-2011 at 6:04 pm

    Matthew Starr said...


    While we’re discussing whether or not he really kissed her in the elevator, let’s discuss the ending. How did he survive a stab to the gut like that?

  • 35 9-16-2011 at 6:22 pm

    JC said...

    Overall, just wow. I loved it. That’s all I can say.

  • 36 9-16-2011 at 6:23 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Right. ^


    Does he die? Does he live? When she went to the apartment and he didn’t answer, is that some sort of clue that he doesn’t live? If he lives, where was he driving and why? How ‘could’ he live? etc.

    I’m curious to hear the reactions, as well.

    Thank you, Matthew Starr.

  • 37 9-16-2011 at 6:27 pm

    Rashad said...

    He doesn’t go back to her, because he can’t go back to her. It’s in both of their interests not to see each other anymore.

    You can survive a gut stab easy. In fact, I was ready to call bullshit if he died right there so fast. I think he’ll live, go to a different state and do some jobs there.

  • 38 9-16-2011 at 6:39 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    I’m glad to know I can survive a gut stab easy but I hope to never put that to the test.

    As of right now I am not 100% certain whether he lives or dies.

  • 39 9-16-2011 at 6:40 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Also, he could go back to her. Like Albert Brooks says they were the last three players.

  • 40 9-16-2011 at 7:10 pm

    tony rock said...

    Hypnotic film. Best of the year so far. And I think he lived. That shot of him sitting in the car after the stabbing and finally blinking was an intentional “is he alive or not” tease from Refn.

  • 41 9-16-2011 at 7:35 pm

    JJ1 said...

    good point, tony rock!

    SPOILER: but wouldn’t it then make sense to go back for her? Or stick with the ‘we can’t be together’ angle?

  • 42 9-16-2011 at 8:01 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Dana: He’s just Danish. ;)

    Anyway, really happy to see this lighting up so much conversation from you guys. Awesome to go out with a bang with one of these, and I knew this film would get you all talking.


  • 43 9-16-2011 at 8:09 pm

    Ryan Sartor said...

    I thought it was amazing, I was surprised by how incredibly violent the film was. I think it was totally appropriate for the story and I wouldn’t change a frame of the movie, I just feel bad for people who see the hot pink poster and are side-swiped by how violent it is. I think the marketing is a little misleading.

  • 44 9-16-2011 at 8:11 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    @Rashad- I thought the exact same thing! Definitely a Christopher Nolan quality to him… same with his films.

  • 45 9-16-2011 at 8:12 pm

    Daniel said...

    Taxi Driver meets the American? Gosling’s solidified himself as one of the greats.

  • 46 9-16-2011 at 8:29 pm

    Keith said...

    Ha! Kris. Just saw your tweet about the reviews from the three big cities.

  • 47 9-16-2011 at 8:32 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I thought it was okay. A bit disappointed. And don’t get the Brooks love at all. Cranston and Oscar Isaac were both better in my eyes. I also thought the violence was unnecessarily grotesque, which is a huge turn off for me.

  • 48 9-16-2011 at 8:33 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    But I would say the elevator kiss was real.

  • 49 9-16-2011 at 8:49 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I should have know it would be Chad who’d join me on the ‘it was okay, I’m disappointed’ train. haha

    2 more things:

    1) I hope the elevator scene was in his head. If not, eek. Awkward moment to kiss; brought attention to himself. And the slow-mo nearly did me in, there.

    And 2) I also thought Cranston, Perlman, & Isaac were better than Albert Brooks.

    Why is he getting all this buzz? Because it’s a ‘comeback’ role and he’s playing against-type? I found him nothing more than ‘good’.

    In any case … I, too, am enjoying this very healthy discussion on ‘Drive’. :)

  • 50 9-16-2011 at 9:38 pm

    Jerimedeth said...

    While Gosling’s performance was praiseworthy, as were certain sequences, I found the film as a whole too diffuse and lacking in storytelling verve. I also didn’t find Brooks to be a standout in the cast, much the same way I thought Kingsley’s performance in Sexy Beast bizarrely overrated.

  • 51 9-16-2011 at 9:43 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    I agree with Chad that the keyed-up grotesqueness of the violence was the film’s biggest drawback, but I very much liked it overall. Sleek, muscular filmmaking…

  • 52 9-16-2011 at 9:44 pm

    brian said...

    Loved the movie. Loved Albert Brooks. I wanted to see an entire story of his character. Loved the photography. I would put this in the top ten so far this year.

  • 53 9-16-2011 at 10:02 pm

    /3rtfull said...

    Violence. It was violent. I saw this tonight with my mom. I don’t have a boyfriend, so my mother and I went. She liked. She screamed at the violence but did enjoyed it for the sweet love story with no sex. I didn’t ask her about the titties, but I guess they were as pretty as the bright lights in that sequence.

    I want Ryan Gosling to be nominated for this film. Fuck Academy taste! They don’t mind throwing those golden boys at women who shut the fuck up for the majority of a movie — maybe it’s plain old fashion sexism. I love Gosling and I will do what he says. CM, this is my first CM movie. I haven’t seen An Education, Money Never Sleeps, Never Let Me Go due to lack of interest. Good actress, she’s cuter than I remember from last year’s award season.
    The cinematography, the sound design, the sound editing (the mix was beautiful), the editing, the directing, the minimalist art direction and costumes were all rock solid. Brooks was robbed of an Oscar in ’88 — he doesn’t deserve a nomination for this. Sorry, but no.
    Drive is my favorite movie of the year until I see new Almodovar? Gosling is a sex god. This is the kind of movie one must experience in an actual movie theater.

  • 54 9-16-2011 at 10:04 pm

    Avi H said...

    saw it tonight, loved the movie. the music was amazing, ryan gosling having big year. that car chase seen was one il never forget. just a excellent well done and well directed movie.

  • 55 9-16-2011 at 11:34 pm

    Daniel B. said...

    I loved it! The direction, the editing and the cinematography were really good! I brought 5 friends with me and unfortunately I was the only one that really fell in love with it. (the same friends that liked the horrible Horrible Bosses :D so I don’t rely on their taste)

  • 56 9-16-2011 at 11:37 pm

    Daniel B. said...

    Also – the chemistry between Gosling and Mulligan was so obvious! They were charming! The acting was superb (fingers crossed for a nomination for Gosling)

  • 57 9-17-2011 at 12:26 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I saw it again tonight (probably the first opening night movie for me since, I don’t know, Iron Man?). It’s just so pristine in so many ways.

    I think complaining about “staring for an awkward amount of time” completely misses the brilliant chemistry and the unspoken dance going on. These are two beautiful, amazingly internalized performances. And Refn lingers on that, finding every hint of feeling and longing.

    Chad: The violence is, I think, completely justified. The worst moment for most is likely the elevator, but we see passion on two completely different (and extreme) levels in that scene. And that’s the thing. I don’t think there’s anything “keyed-up” about it. It just is.

    The kiss, well, that’s fully my take. I think it’s him savoring what he knows, in that moment, he’ll never have. He allows himself that internal interlude. But I bet Refn would say it actually happened. That’s the beauty of all this, though.

    Brooks is fantastic. I think Oscar Isaacs does more with less (the slow dolly in on him at the party is just majestic), but I won’t take anything away from Brooks, who gives us a totally different version of something we’ve seen a thousand times.

    I’ll admit two things. It begins to crawl at the start of the third act. And Perlman’s end was somehow not entirely satisfying.

    But damn, what a film.

  • 58 9-17-2011 at 1:46 am

    Matt Howard said...

    Absolutely loved it…

    It was a film that lurked for lack of a better term. You could literally taste the tension in every scene. The opening was simply stunning and I don’t think there was any dialogue other then the radio and police scanner? Anyway, the beginning hooked me. The violence was a little over the top, but it somehow worked overall.

    I was a little surprised to hear people in the thetre groan here and there at the end… one person said, “what was the point?” I guess not everyone “gets” film?

    The acting was great though I never felt like Brooks was the force that everyone is pointing him out to be. Cranston was the best of the supporting roles, while Gosling exuded some sort of smug, that also led me to believe his backstory is too complicated to tell in a 1 and a half hour film.

    Definitely one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Inventive, yet hauntingly familiar. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Drive is one hell of a film, that certainly deserves some Oscar love.

  • 59 9-17-2011 at 4:57 am

    James said...

    I guess I know I loved it more than any other film this year because as soon as it was over I wanted to see it again. Like Aronofsky’s flick last year and others, I could tell from the opening frame that I had a director who knew exactly what he was doing.

    I got clock at what point the big robbery happens, but I don’t see how people could be that bored. The film is 100 mins longer(30 mins shorter than Fast Five!!!) The first half is build up, and there’s plenty of moments that feature other characters if they don’t like Gosling and Mulligan’s glancing ways of communication. I suppose they might want awkward exposition or bad back story. But man when that robbery hits and it hits you hard the rest of the film has your heart ready to explode. Refn knows exactly what’s he doing. I’m sure many moviegoers will think his choices were not deliberate(use of brilliant silence in the action).

    Having characters talk alot over cars going 90 miles per hour, while having as sassy partner or accomplice making idiotic comments with frantic camerawork and the cuts being 2 seconds is not entertainment. That is the delusional of entertainment.

    So yea, loved this. Performances, writing, direction(oh my yes), cinematography, score, sound mixing, everything. Perfect. Gave me goosebumps.

  • 60 9-17-2011 at 5:55 am

    JJ1 said...

    I’m not nearly as severe as the rest of the public, but this movie has a C- CinemaScore. That’s atrocious; especially when the Sarah Jessica Parker movie has a B-.

    I actually don’t remember the last film that has scored as low as C- recently.

    This movie clearly isn’t being enjoyed by large portions of the move-going public. I find that sad because this is the TYPE of cinema that deserves praise/an audience.

    But I repeat (from above) that I found myself underwhelmed, too. I’d prob give it a B- (for Gosling, Cranston, Perlman, cinematography, sound, score, car chase, violence).

    I am one who couldn’t stand the pregnant pauses. I didn’t see/feel an ‘unspoken dance’. Just awkward silence. And there are tons of movies I love that have awkward silence/long build-up/insightful nuance/quiet character building chemistry, etc..

    The romance was not subtle & sweet for me, just undernourished. Just too much of the film/plot felt undernourished to me, not lean (in a good way).

    Most felt the film was poetic & stylish. I found it over-styled & ”okay, what am I missing, here?”.

    Wish I could join the rest of you guys. :( But I DO acknowledge what I thought was good about the film. It’s the overall that just didn’t sit with me.

  • 61 9-17-2011 at 6:02 am

    Rashad said...

    completely misses the brilliant chemistry and the unspoken dance going on.

    It wasn’t a biggie to me that scene, but the scene where Standard says “let’s mommy talk to her friend” and then they just give each other a look was pretty much the same thing, but done a bit better.

    Yeah Pearlman needed a chase or a straight blasting shootout before the crash.

  • 62 9-17-2011 at 6:03 am

    Glenn said...

    I thought I replied earlier? Hmmm.

    Nevertheless, “Drive” is basically perfect. It’s everything I think cinema can be and then a little bit more.

  • 63 9-17-2011 at 6:56 am

    Chase Kahn said...

    C-? Are you kidding? The gap between the viewing public and the critical eye is steeper than I thought…

  • 64 9-17-2011 at 6:58 am

    Keith said...

    I’m seeing it with a friend today. I dragged her into Tree of Life and she hated it. She loves violent movies, so maybe she’ll take to this more? The public reaction has surprised me somewhat. Clearly this move is much more of an “arthouse” film than I thought. Which is fine with me–I love that.

  • 65 9-17-2011 at 8:38 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    Thinking back I really loved the scene at the strip club, or wherever it was where Gosling brings the hammer. I like how he just starts sweating profusely once he hears Nino’s name and also how the women in the background are just sitting there watching. That scene had a very Kubrick feel to me.

  • 66 9-17-2011 at 8:42 am

    SJG said...

    I’m going out on a limb here and admitting to being one of the people who thinks the movie fell flat. The construction of the film is perfect: beautiful cinematography, excellent art direction, cool editing, a great ’80’s aesthetic.

    But in the end the story was just too thin. Style will only take a movie so far in my book. Substance has to win any day, and longing gazes and suggestive glances just don’t make up for actual character development and a cohesive plot. I love what Refn was trying to do, and I see why it appeals to some people, but I still can’t help but feel that it was a noble failure.

    I’m sure I would have loved this movie when I was 15, but at this point in my life I don’t have the luxury of surrounding myself with a ton of my closest friends and debating for hours stuff like “Personal theory… the elevator kiss wasn’t real!” (which I actually agree with, Kris). If a movie isn’t more or less self-contained and I don’t see it with the right people, then it doesn’t have that “lingering” effect that a film like this needs.

    That’s just me though.

    What I will say though, and I don’t know if this is just because I was already on the Brooks bandwagon before I saw the movie, but I think that Brooks really did give a great enough performance that he might be able to eek out a nomination. At first I was dismissing him, but then I realized how much he really did manage to achieve in such a minimalist movie. He’s the absolutely perfect foil to Gosling’s reluctant hero: The reluctant villain.

    He’s the nice guy who’s inherently evil to counterbalance the nice guy who’s all good. He’s chatty and forthright where Gosling is reserved and guarded. Like Gosling, he only does what he believes he has to do, and he does it to get out of it what he values most.

    In a weird alternate-dimension movie, he could almost be the hero–the washed-up 60-something with a new lease at life, finally able to realize his dreams that never materialized in his miserable, crime-filled existence. All he has to do is protect himself from the psychopath who’s wiping out all his criminal buddies in a lust-inspired rage over a white-trash waitress he banged.

    Brooks managed to make his character feel almost weirdly, twistedly noble, all things considered. And he did it with not much to go on. Color me impressed.

    So, my brief thoughts: Impressed at some things, but… meh.

  • 67 9-17-2011 at 8:54 am

    Jack Scribe said...

    Was absolutely delighted from the first frame. I’m surprised more comments didn’t mention the 70’s music. The choices were inspired. As far as the C-is concerned, I follow more reliable sources: Metacritic (the Drive Score of 80 is very high) and Rotten Tomatoes ( an exceptional 93). My thoughts for Oscar nominations: Gosling – Best Actor, Brooks – Best Supporting Actor, and Cinematography.

  • 68 9-17-2011 at 9:54 am

    Michael said...

    I loved this movie from start to finish. I’m actually listening to the soundtrack on headphones while I write this comment. I think it is pretty safe to say that this film will find a nice spot somewhere on my top 10 favorite films of the year. I think Albert Brooks will be lucky to snag a nomination for his role in this film – I think it would be totally deserving, but I immediately thought that this movie was so anti-Oscar and it was that much more brilliant b/c of it. In a perfect world, this would be up for best pic, best dir, best screenplay, best actor, best sup. actor, best cin, and best editing – which will never happen of course, but it’s nice to dream.

    I must say, it has been a long time since September has consistently impressed with the back to back quality of “Hollywood” movies such as Contagion and Drive. Hopefully that trend can continue with the next three weekends in a row: Moneyball, 50/50, and Ides of March. Even if it doesn’t, that is still a really great run of films and I hope they are successful so that movie studios set out to make more of them in the future.

    Overall, I am just so glad this film lived up to my expectations after reading so many great reviews. Such a brilliantly realized cinematic experience and a wonderful improvement on the work done on Bronson.

  • 69 9-17-2011 at 10:37 am

    Beau said...

    Ryan Gosling deserves an Academy Award nomination. The film is fucking perfect. ‘Nuff said.

  • 70 9-17-2011 at 10:49 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    Stylish badassery, cinema pure.

    My top American flicks so far this year:
    Higher Ground
    Rise of the Planet of the Ages
    Tree of Life
    (not in that order)

    Weird group.

  • 71 9-17-2011 at 11:07 am

    Rashad said...

    This has been a very good year for movies so far.

    Matthew: I would have liked it even more if the women had better looking breasts. Those boob jobs were terrible.

  • 72 9-17-2011 at 11:51 am

    Duncan Houst said...

    Saw the film last night. Loved it, though not quite as much as most. I think that’s due to counter-productively bloated expectations and the guys in the theater loudly getting pumped for an action film.

    So I restate that I loved the film, mostly because of what everyone involved brought to the table. The cast and Refn do so much to augment the script to become a more heightened experience. With a no-name cast and a no-name action director, this would’ve been blunt and bland shit. As it is, it’s beautifully realized film about a ton of people living in their own idealized worlds that crash into each other.

  • 73 9-17-2011 at 11:57 am

    Air said...

    I loved every frame of this entire film.

    I found it stunning in every sense of the word. Stunning in that it was beautiful. Stunning in that it shocked me. Stunning in that it sometimes felt like a scorpion had stung me.

    I had known it was being marketed conventionally and it was all but conventional. I knew somehow there was a reason Refn had won best director at Cannes and I knew it would be part art house film. What I didn’t expect was the violence. And not only how graphic the violence was, but that most of it came from the Driver himself. His intensity, his anger and rawness made him the danger of the movie.

    One thing I loved about it (among everything that I loved about it) was how daring it was to follow a character that we could barely know. His stoicism intrigued us, then reeled us in, and then the scene at the diner literally made all of the hairs on my arm stand up. The Driver isn’t just a morally questionable protagonist we’ve all come to know and love from the Hollywood Renaissance era, but as the music suggests, he literally was a cold blooded killer with no human connections in his life except for Irene and Benecio. And because his devotion to them was so gentle and pure, honest and selfless, he destroyed himself for it and didn’t even blink. And for some reason, after the overkill, the brutality…that makes us love him.

    Wow. It just left me breathless. I was amazed at the pared down dialogue and how fearless Refn was to just let those silent moments hang and play out on his actors’ faces.

    What more can I say? I loved every second of this art house-pulp-gangster-bloody-character study of a film.

    My favorite of the year so far. I’ll fight tooth and nail in its favor.

  • 74 9-17-2011 at 12:04 pm

    Daniel said...

    I loved this movie. One of the best of the year. I wanna know why Driver still wore the mask while he killed Shannon. Maybe I wasn’t catching something, but that whole beach scene felt like it was missing something. Not like it was a let down, but it some ways it was. It was the least involving death scene. Looking at the way other people were killed in the movie, it just doesn’t fit when you look at the other ways people were killed. Standard was a shock, unexpected. So was Blanche’s. When Albert Brooks killed Shannon, it was sort of expected, but the way it was filmed was involving. One of the best sequences in the movie was the elevator, and I don’t need to tell you that it was memorable and involving. So why have a far off shot of Driver killing Shannon? Doesn’t fit. Is Refn trying to tell us that its an emotionless experience for Gosling? What’s the purpose of filming it like that?

    Also found the names interesting. Albert Brooks is the only one with a first AND last name.

  • 75 9-17-2011 at 12:26 pm

    Duncan Houst said...

    The beach scene seems to be the one people are most disappointed by, so I’ll just say that I loved the beach scene, right up until the end. The wrathful silhouette of the driver approaching as Ron Perlman runs desperately towards the water. It’s that removed and distanced ending shot of the scene that takes me out of it. One wishes that Refn had gotten closer. Other than that slight flaw, the scene is nearly flawless.

  • 76 9-17-2011 at 12:48 pm

    Keith said...

    Beautiful summary, Air. Thank you.

  • 77 9-17-2011 at 1:20 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Kris- Agree to disagree about the violence. At first I was willing to stomach it because Refn lingered equally on the emotional consequences of the violence, but at a certain point it became fetishistic and lost me. The most brilliant and effective death scene was the last one that took place entirely in shadows. More like that please.

  • 78 9-17-2011 at 1:39 pm

    Cameron said...

    The elevator kiss was a dream for sure. Driver can’t connect with people on an emotional level, so this was his big emotional release (that didn’t involve killing someone)
    Of course, after that…

    Ideal Oscar Noms:

    Director – Nicolas Winding Refn
    Actor – Ryan Gosling
    Supp. Actor – Albert Brooks
    Film Editing
    Sound Mixing
    Sound Editing

    Best Picture is a maybe

  • 79 9-17-2011 at 1:44 pm

    Brock Landers said...

    This seems like the kind of movie that could have a lot of passionate support. Like lots of #1, #2 and #3 votes. It would be beyond awesome if the Academy went for it.

  • 80 9-17-2011 at 2:02 pm

    Graysmith said...

    I haven’t seen the film, but I just noticed that one of the taglines they used for some of the posters is “There are no clean getaways”, which is exactly the same tagline that No Country For Old Men had. It’s not exactly a unique phrase or anything, but kinda lazy since it was a rather memorable tagline for said Best Picture winner.

  • 81 9-17-2011 at 2:24 pm

    Paul8148 said...

    Great Movie

    Should Be in the running for

    Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor (Brooks, through Cranston was greats here with his best movie role), Cinematography, Editing, and the sounds…

  • 82 9-17-2011 at 2:25 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I don’t remember that tagline from No Country. hmm.

  • 83 9-17-2011 at 2:36 pm

    Daniel said...

    Big mistake on my last post. “I wanna know why driver still wore the mask while he killed NINO.” My bad. I also agree with Duncan. I liked where it was going until the end. You are no longer involved. And since the character is at a distance from us to begin with, why choose it to film that way.

  • 84 9-17-2011 at 2:54 pm

    Chris138 said...

    Yeah, I knew that tag line sounded familiar. All of this talk about the elevator scene has got me thinking about whether or not that was all in his head. I definitely wanna check this movie out again soon.

  • 85 9-17-2011 at 3:06 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I like what Cameron said: it was in his head because he would not have been able to do what he did (the kiss) emotionally in reality.

  • 86 9-17-2011 at 3:18 pm

    Addison said...

    To me the movie was a brilliant and refreshing take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

  • 87 9-17-2011 at 3:20 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Why was the shadow death so “effective,” Chad? I actually thought that was somewhat contrived in the face of more matter-of-fact depictions throughout.

  • 88 9-17-2011 at 3:21 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Graysmith: Yeah there was some discussion about that a while back. The marketing on this, in my opinion, has been a miss overall.

  • 89 9-17-2011 at 3:27 pm

    JJ1 said...

    You know, though I am so-so on the film, as a whole (really liked various aspects) …

    Dammit if I don’t want to see it again after reading all of these posts!

    True to form (for me), I keep re-living moments and flashes of minor brilliance from the movie that make me question my own position on it.

    Maybe it’s the nuanced performances, maybe the killings, maybe that SONG. Maybe the it’s the – as Kris puts it – enlivened discussion, here.

    Whatever it is, methinks I’ll be giving this a second look. The romance did nothing for me yesterday. And that’s why I walked away shrugging. Maybe that’ll change for the next time ’round. No promises on the opinion change, though. We’ll see. haha

  • 90 9-17-2011 at 3:42 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Pretty good. Don’t quite understand the effusive praise. It’s an unsettling, rather claustrophobic little mood thriller, but you’re left wondering at the end if we really needed to go through all the bloodshed to get some themes already explored in several other movies. Effective and efficient, I’d say, like Gosling’s character. But not a lot more in the way of substance.

  • 91 9-17-2011 at 3:42 pm

    Marko said...

    @JJ1 Well at least it has a better Cinemascore than the American got last year when it came out (a D-).

  • 92 9-17-2011 at 3:46 pm

    Mark said...

    Favorite film of the year so far for me easily. Did anyone else get a Halloween vibe from the beach scene at the end? Its the first thing I thought of when Driver started walking towards the water.

  • 93 9-17-2011 at 3:53 pm

    JJ1 said...

    YES, Mark. I leaned over to my friend last night and said, ‘Halloween, much?’ haha.

    Marko, interesting about ‘The American’. That score and this score for ‘Drive’ makes one thing CRYSTAL clear about the American public …

    They don’t like what they thought they were paying for … and didn’t get.

  • 94 9-17-2011 at 3:53 pm

    Hero said...

    I’m still too addled from my viewing this afternoon to organize my thoughts. However, as I left the theater, I remembered a friend saying after seeing the trailer: “I want to have sex with this movie.” Well, after actually seeing the movie, I’m pretty sure I want to have its babies.

  • 95 9-17-2011 at 3:57 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Kris- It’s the only death scene that inspired me to look closer and harder at the depiction instead of inspiring me to look away.

  • 96 9-17-2011 at 4:10 pm

    Jim T said...


    Jesus Kris, did you actually want a torture scene with Perlman? Or everyone?
    I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the violence anf film in general, but for me, the quicker and less to-my-face (or whtever the phrase is) the death, the better.
    And I really wanted Gosling to die. I find it silly for the movie o keep him alive. Not sure yet how to explain it but, really, was the movie afraid to kill its not-exactly hero? Everyone else with dirty hands died – why not him? (Unless he acually did)

  • 97 9-17-2011 at 4:12 pm

    Jim T said...

    And it seems people love the movie. Not only critics. 8.8/10 at imdb.

  • 98 9-17-2011 at 4:16 pm

    Speaking English said...

    He lives because it’s more tragic that way. He’s got nowhere to go but to keep repeating his violent, criminal, loner lifestyle, perpetually stuck in his fatalistic nature.

  • 99 9-17-2011 at 4:23 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    IMDb users give anything with cool shots and guns a direct ticket to the top 250.

  • 100 9-17-2011 at 4:24 pm

    mitchell said...

    I thought it was a great. I thought the depiction of the violence was effective, non-redundant, and interesting across the board. especially loved the music choices and the beach scene

  • 101 9-17-2011 at 4:25 pm

    mitchell said...

    *a great movie haha

  • 102 9-17-2011 at 4:26 pm

    Jim T said...

    Yeah, I thought of that but I don’t fully buy it. I mean, theoretically, he could begin a new, maybe happy life in a place far away.
    And the “he closed his eyes – he’s alive!” was so like an effort to relieve us because we’re supposed to feel sad over his potential death.
    I think what bothered me (And there are many things I liked that I don’t mention because I think they’re obvious) was the ultimate failure of the movie to incorporate the cliched “tough guy who actually has feeling and is willing to sacrifice himself blah blah” in a more interesting and realistic context.

  • 103 9-17-2011 at 4:29 pm

    Jim T said...

    “I thought of that ” goes to Speaking English’s comment.

  • 104 9-17-2011 at 4:31 pm

    Pete said...

    The opening scene is a masterpiece of tease and tension and makes the audience complicit with the Driver.

    The elevator kiss was imagined. The lighting changed and Gosling moved like a dancer as he approached Mulligan.

  • 105 9-17-2011 at 4:37 pm

    mickey said...

    Saw it last night, can’t get it out of my mind. It eats away at you. Shannon’s “gentle” murder the most chilling since Adam Goldberg’s in S Pvt Ryan.
    Refn masterful, Amini brilliantly spare, Gosling magnetic, Mulligan likeable (though Baz has a lot of work ahead to turn her into Daisy Buchanan).

  • 106 9-17-2011 at 4:45 pm

    Rashad said...

    Question: Why isn’t it enough for him to be a stunt driver in a Hollywood film? Why does he have to go to the criminal side?

    NWR: It’s something so deep in him that it doesn’t have an answer. He doesn’t get anything out of doing his criminal activity. But it’s like a movie mythology character.

    Question: It’s not like he’s driven by greed or anything.

    NWR: No. All that I eliminated, because I wanted to have a different side to his behavior than what you would expect. What he does in the beginning never repeats itself, until he has to do it to protect her. That’s where it goes wrong. He’s probably done this before, maybe continue to do it, because it’s part of his DNA. Why he does it is the exact reason why he does it.

    He will never find the answer, that’s why he does it. It’s who he is. It’s part of movie mythology. The focus is very interesting, because it’s about movie mythology, and about people living in the movie mythology. People having difficulties of not relating to reality, but they see reality in a different way than we do.

    Question: Was that the dynamic, that he was against these people who are pretty regular?

    NWR: Yes, because then he becomes what they need. He represents their inner mirrors. When they need a human being, he’s a human being. When they need a hero, he’s a hero. When Bernie needs his nemesis, he becomes his nemesis. When Shannon (played by Bryan Cranston) needs his dream of buying a car with a driver, he’s his driver. He’s everything to everyone.

    Question: Irene asks the Driver what he does, and he says he drives. He defines himself as a driver. What do you think driving means to him?

    NWR: Well, when he says he drives, and Irene asks if he drives limousine, he says no, I drive for the movies. So he drives in the world of illusions. At the end of the film, he tells Bernie Rose he’s a scorpion, because he’s been transformed into this superhero.

  • 107 9-17-2011 at 5:17 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    I’m really baffled by the issues people are having with the violence in this film. For me, not only is it essential to the characters (for Driver it is a stimulating, emotional release and for Bernie Rose, its a way of life) but it also approaches such an exaggerated state that it almost reaches a level of camp. (I haven’t heard anyone take issue with David Cronenberg’s exploding heads in “Scanners”.)

    I’ve been turned off by violence in films (most recently, “The Last House on the Left” remake) if what we see is potentially amoral, but in the case of “Drive”, I certainly don’t believe that to be the case. Really surprised to hear it, honestly.

  • 108 9-17-2011 at 5:24 pm

    Jack Scribe said...

    Here’s my read on the elevator sequence: Driver needs to get Irene out of the way and into the corner…with a spontaneous kiss along the way. The normal time for this action would be five seconds; what we’re watching is a two-minute slo-mo capture (hence the dark lighting) . BTW, Ryan Gosling will be on Conan this Monday, TNT, 9:00 p.m. If you’ve seen his interviews with Letterman and Fallen for Crazy, Stupid, Love, you know he’ll be in top form for O’Brien.

  • 109 9-17-2011 at 5:26 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    @Mickey- No, no no… Mulligan makes for an ideal Daisy. I do hope they change her hair color though to stick with the actual character in the novel rather than the Mia Farrow approach. We shall see.

    Anyway not to get entirely off topic… I don’t remember who said it mid-way in this thread, but I 100% agree- the marketing was way off with this film. What is with these shitty marketing campaigns that sabotage good films box office prospects (Warrior included)?! I don’t think they should have opened so wide… fewer screens opening weekend and then slowly expand. Also, bad choice on what they chose to use in the commercials. I understand the studio’s intention- to make it seem like an action flick that mass audiences would enjoy but it ended up looking very generic. Case in point, I had a friend who CONFUSED the Taylor Lautner film with ‘Drive’ :( :/ :'(

  • 110 9-17-2011 at 5:34 pm

    Hero said...

    In all fairness to Film District, how do you market this film? Who do you market it to? It’s too violent for older people, too art house for younger people, which I think leaves 20 and 30 somethings as the only possible audience. It’s just such a shame that I can’t figure out how to market such a really great movie. For instance, those posters. Now that I’ve seen the movie, they are so perfect, but I can’t imagine them convincing someone to see the movie. Some films are just tricky.

  • 111 9-17-2011 at 5:52 pm

    Daniel Crooke said...

    I’ll put it this way – I got retweeted by Albert Brooks today and that wasn’t even the highlight of my day. The highlight? Seeing Drive.

  • 112 9-17-2011 at 5:57 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I agree with Chase (regarding the violence). In fact, though I have several issues with the film, violence is not one of them. I found it appropriately blunt, visceral, & meaningful. And I don’t think it was overused. I DO wish there was another car chase in there somewhere. Those were hot.

    Now, regarding the release of this film (2,800+ theaters opening weekend). I thought that a film’s studio makes the most money from the opening weekend gross (and studio’s portion gets less so as the weeks go on).

    Now, I realize that that can’t be totally true since many big films get a small release and build. But the fact that this movie only cost $13 mill to make and is on course to make $10-11 this opening weekend … isn’t that an okay thing for the movie?

  • 113 9-17-2011 at 6:38 pm

    Cade said...

    Did Ebert change his score from 4 stars to 3.5 stars? I seem to remember him giving it 4-stars earlier in the week.

  • 114 9-17-2011 at 6:46 pm

    Chris138 said...

    This is what Ebert said about that whole thing with the star rating:

    “BTW… “Drive” mistakenly received a 4 star rating online. I had earlier modified that to 3.5 stars, but the change wasn’t pick up by the web. Sorry. It’s still a first rate movie.”

  • 115 9-17-2011 at 6:47 pm

    Andrew M said...

    Cade- I saw his rating on Thursday, and it was 3.5 so I don’t think so. The only rating I have ever seen him change is The Hurt Locker from 3.5 to 4.

  • 116 9-17-2011 at 6:57 pm

    RichardA said...

    I keep thinking that Tarantino must have shat in his pants seeing this movie.

  • 117 9-17-2011 at 7:13 pm

    Drew said...

    Note to self: Never read comments before seeing a movie. I wish I could get to see it, but that won’t happen for a while. Got too much shit to do. I had a feeling that the Cranston character would get killed. Now I definitley know.

  • 118 9-17-2011 at 7:38 pm

    /3rtfull said...

    I keep thinking that Tarantino must have shat in his pants seeing this movie.

    I thought about Death Proof too.

  • 119 9-17-2011 at 7:46 pm

    RichardA said...

    Elevator kiss is the point-no-return–absolutely in his head because of the lighting.

    Anyway–the 50s, 70s, 80s, 90s stylistic references were so integrated in the current time period, it felt timeless. This is why I compare Drive to Pulp Fiction (or Jackie Brown)–but Drive has more humanity and less bombastic.

    love, love, love. This movie.

  • 120 9-17-2011 at 8:03 pm

    jake said...

    I don’t think i have seen a movie this cool in ages. Ryan Gosling, such a great actor — you can’t take your eyes off of him and that elevator scene — that is a scene that film classes will be showing for years to come. great great movie, can’t believe that cinemascore gave it a c- — probably because of the ending, which i’m not gonna spoil her. not to be missed and one of the best movies of the year.

  • 121 9-17-2011 at 8:49 pm

    Rashad said...

    but Drive has more humanity and less bombastic.

    More than Pulp, maybe. More than Jackie Brown? No way, not close. I wouldn’t say it draws attention to itself any less than a Tarantino film either.

  • 122 9-17-2011 at 8:50 pm

    /3rtfull said...

  • 123 9-17-2011 at 8:57 pm

    Keith said...

    I loved it. Pretty much every minute and every thing about it. It exceeded my expectations, probably because some of the divisive reactions had cooled my excitement somewhat. I honestly haven’t been that entertained watching a film in a long time, certainly not this year. All of the stylistic touches came together to create a dream like, tension filled tragic fable that I bought hook, line and singer.

    One of the biggest surprises for me was how much I sympathized with the Driver. Based on what I had read, I expected to be frightened, even repulsed by the character. But oh that Gosling. As has been said again and again, he can do so much with so little. I loved that I didn’t know anything about him, not even his name. What a fascinating, mysterious figure. Gosling’s slightest glances and choices of body language told me all I needed to know about his isolation and what he really longed for. What a performance. Again, he blew me away.

    I never felt the movie drag, I think mostly because of the stellar acting and music/score. Music was used beautifully to maintain tension and control scenes.

    As for the two scenes or questions about which people have been debating, I don’t think the kiss scene in the elevator was a dream. As I understand Gosling’s conception of the character, Driver is a guy who is sort of living a movie in his head. He’s inexpressive to the point of being isolated and alienated. He dresses like the hero of a movie and longs to have someone to connect with, save and protect. To me, that scene happened, but we are viewing it from his perception, as if he’s the hero in his own movie, kissing the girl in slow motion with dimming lights then killing the “bad guy” to save her. But of course it all goes off kilter when she sees just how savage this quiet, stoic man can be. I thought it was a masterful scene. I’ll never forget it.

    I don’t really have a problem buying that he lived at the end. And I almost feel like the question is irrelevant. Whether he lives or dies, he can’t come back and won’t come back. He’s lost Irene and the boy. Even if he lives, he’ll end up doing what he’s done, isolated, stoic, inexpressive and cut off. He’ll just keep driving and driving, like the heroes in westerns who just ride off and can’t ever settle. Roaming is like some sentence but also the only thing they know to do.

    I can see why some might feel Mulligan was miscast. She certainly doesn’t look the part. But maybe that was the point. What makes her so different from the world she inhabits is what draws Driver to her, makes him want to protect her. I thought she was believable. But, again, I can see why some feel like she didn’t fit.

    All the rest of the cast was great. As everyone has said, Brooks was fantastic. I’d love to see him nominated for this.

    So, the movie certainly will rank among my favorites of the year. I can’t wait to see it again. Such a hypnotic spell the movie casts. I wish the general public was liking the movie more, but no matter. The movie will have a devoted following for years, I imagine, and Gosling is near iconic in it.

    Funny enough, the only thing I really didn’t like was the pink, 80’s style font used for the credits. It seemed like just a hair too much stylistic flourish, but that is minor, minor quibble.

  • 124 9-17-2011 at 9:15 pm

    Keith said...

    Also want to give a shout out to the underrated Ron Perlman. Loved him in Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hell Boy movies. He rocked in this.

  • 125 9-17-2011 at 9:20 pm

    Speaking English said...

    He wasn’t in “Pan’s Labyrinth”…

  • 126 9-17-2011 at 9:30 pm

    Keith said...

    Thanks, Speaking, I thought he played a certain part in it, but it appears I was mistaken. Thanks for the correction.

  • 127 9-17-2011 at 10:08 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    The violence here was not really that grotesque? Maybe it’s just me. Speaking of Pans Labyrinth, there is a scene in that movie just as brutal as the elevator scene in Drive.

    Anyone here that had issue with the violence, what did you think of Irreversible?

  • 128 9-17-2011 at 10:09 pm

    Frank Lee said...

    I enjoyed the film a lot, which is saying something since I usually resent films with a robotic, emotionally unavailable protagonist. The ending wasn’t handled particularly well, I admit. SPOILER ALERT. Did Gosling’s character go to the Chinese restaurant expecting to die? If he didn’t want to die, why didn’t he guard himself better? If he wanted to die–why did he want to die? And if he wanted to die, why didn’t he die?

  • 129 9-17-2011 at 10:11 pm

    Frank Lee said...

    About the violence: it didn’t bother me at all. I thought Gwyneth Paltrow’s autopsy scene in “Contagion” was far more gratuitous and foolish than anything in “Drive.”

  • 130 9-17-2011 at 10:23 pm

    Keith said...

    Frank Lee, in my reading, he knew he was likely going to die–if he didn’t before, that smile he gives at the table says yes. But I think his focus was on Brooks’ character dying so that he wouldn’t be a threat to Irene and her son. That was his focus. Otherwise, he could have just gotten in his car immediately and driven off. To me, the ending wasn’t so much about him dying or living as much as just that he wasn’t able to STAY. I’m not sure I’m making sense. To me dying and driving off are sort of the same thing for Driver.

    Not to overstate the analogy to westerns, which I’m sure I am, but the scene between Brooks and Gosling at the end had a very “duel in the town road” quality to me with the closeups of their profiles, and then one draws and then the other. They both go down, but the “hero” gets on his horse and rides away. Victorious, but destined to be alone. Maybe I’m being too romantic. That’s just how I read it.

  • 131 9-17-2011 at 10:44 pm

    Jerimedeth said...

    Am I in a rational universe, where people compare Drive to the unbelievably superb Pulp Fiction? I’d even say Death Proof evinces a more masterful handle of its director over dramatic structure, mood, storytelling, and numerous other cinematic attributes. Drive is a mere sketch of a film, albeit beautiful at moments.

  • 132 9-17-2011 at 10:56 pm

    redcup said...

    @Dana Jones
    A slow roll out would have killed it even more, I think. Some of the female audience went in imagining The Notebook as an action movie–Gosling building cars instead of houses now–and got minimalist dialogue and bashed-in heads instead. If you look at the negative twitter reaction that has surfaced so far, that’s mostly the key its in: gross and slow, they say (and that response has been predominantly female). If word had gotten out earlier that it wasn’t what they thought it would be, then maybe the film’s release stalls and those people never buy tickets in the first place.

    It fits in the tradition of Hanna or The American: European arthouse genre takes marketed as straight action pics but not really. Drive’s $11 million or so puts it just a bit below those two when they opened wide.

    Anyway, FilmDistrict has balls for releasing this like they did. I hope they’re around for a while longer.

    You get the win for the elevator interpretation. Makes the most sense to me.

    Also, re: Westerns, in an interview with, the screenwriter stated, “originally when I wrote it, it was more like a Western. I kept thinking of ‘The Man with No Name’ or ‘Shane.'”

    Could how Nino’s death was shot have anything to do with the broken kneecap Perlman suffered while filming that scene?

  • 133 9-17-2011 at 10:57 pm

    Keith said...

    Jerimedeth, you won’t find me saying Drive is equal to Pulp Fiction. I loved Drive, but Pulp Fiction is a classic and rightfully so. I don’t expect Drive to reach that status. Now, Death Proof? I love it, but I’d take Drive over Death Proof. The driving sequences in Death Proof are masterpieces and more fun than I can handle. But you want to talk about dragging? There are sections in that movie that seriously drag. If Refn fetishizes imagery, then Tarantino fetishizes dialogue, particularly by pretty, leggy girls. And Death Proof has a scene or two that threaten to kill the picture with pretty girls talking and ONLY talking but revealing NOTHING of substance about character.

  • 134 9-17-2011 at 11:28 pm

    Jerimedeth said...

    I thought Death Proof came close at moments to exasperating my attention span (around the time the first group of girls meet Stuntman Mike at the bar), but I still feel Tarantino more successfully managed to build up viewer investment in the onscreen proceedings, whereas Refn (to me) seemed to avoid creating any lasting variation in the films tonalities. Every scene, including superb moments like the car chase and Driver shooting/stomping (by virtue of being so cocooned), was washed over with this inertia (arrays of shots whose lingering is devoid of signification begins to accomplish this) that prevented significant progression in the film’s dramatic effects from occurring.

  • 135 9-17-2011 at 11:43 pm

    Keith said...

    Jeremedeth, I think I get what you’re saying. For me, Death Proof was a genuine B movie (not an insult, but a glorious, kiss blown compliment) car picture, as that was Tarantino’s goal, whereas Drive is more character driven. I find that ironic considering some of the criticism about how little there is to Driver. The girls in Death Proof are insignificant. Not one of them stands out as essential or important to the story (except maybe that glorious stunt double for Uma). But, again, I don’t think Tarantino means any of them to be. Death Proof is a genuine action picture. Drive is NOT. So even though they are both about cars and driving to some degree, maybe it’s not such an apt comparison. Cars/driving are the star in Death Proof, whereas they are a metaphor in Drive.

  • 136 9-18-2011 at 12:11 am

    Daniel B. said...

    I must agree with some that the weak link is the story – the scrrenplay is pretty weak standing on its own.

  • 137 9-18-2011 at 12:12 am

    dalurae jin said...

    Just got back from the screening. I loved it. At times, it got too romantic for my liking, but I admit the entire movie I was just sitting there totally fascinated.
    I just want to point out a few things. The film does feel like a cinephile’s pastiche. It’s as if the movie itself is the director’s love letter to cinema. There’s a In The Mood For Love moment, a Pulp Fiction moment, a Mulholland Drive moment.. It’s hodge-podge-ish, but not in a bad way.
    I liked the fact that it tries to capture that urban-existentialist feel in an anonymous individual (in terms of which, it reminded me of Hong Kong cinema back in the mid-80s, early- and mid-90s before the 1997 handover), and it succeeds to a good extent, I think.
    And that “elevator” scene is simply beautiful and sort of sums up the movie, in that for the most part of the movie there’s an interplay between violent and romantic, and the elevator scene is like a conflation of the two.

  • 138 9-18-2011 at 12:40 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    Drive > Pulp Fiction (which is not even Tarantino’s best work. then again, I’m not a fan.)

  • 139 9-18-2011 at 1:24 am

    Jesse Crall said...

    Oooh…I respectfully but strongly disagree with you Paul…

    After the 1st scene of Drive, I thought “Boy, this even makes Collateral look tired.” But I thought the heated tension sort of melted away. Mulligan felt off. She looks 14 and she has a sweet innocence that worked wonders for An Education and Never Let Me Go, but here she needed more edge. Leaves me concerned that she’ll make for an iffy Daisy Buchannan.

    HOWEVER: Loved the sudden violence, Gosling, Brooks, and Cranston were great, pink titles rocked…Solid B, fringe B+ like Collateral (for me C is average).

  • 140 9-18-2011 at 1:40 am

    Samuel said...

    I’d love to be a part of this discussion but Drive doesn’t open in Australia until next month. I can’t wait.

  • 141 9-18-2011 at 2:05 am

    Rashad said...

    Man, Collateral is a masterpiece, even with the more conventional third act. Made up for it in spades with the way Vincent’s death was handled.

  • 142 9-18-2011 at 5:52 am

    JJ1 said...

    Frank lee wrote, “SPOILER ALERT. Did Gosling’s character go to the Chinese restaurant expecting to die? If he didn’t want to die, why didn’t he guard himself better? If he wanted to die–why did he want to die? And if he wanted to die, why didn’t he die?”

    Thank you for addressing this, Frank Lee. It’s one of the nagging things about the movie that I share. But a lot of the ensuing responses have calmed me down, a bit.

    And to anyone who is questioning seeing the film for any reason, or maybe have seen it and are conflicted about several things (as I am) … I suggest reading Keith’s very thorough, complimentary post #123. That’s a keeper.

  • 143 9-18-2011 at 6:26 am

    JTag said...

    JJ1, I’m with you in the “over my head” category. I do not get the love for this film at all. The lady next to me noticed I was drinking tea and asked if I was sick, I said no, I was just feeling a little tired after drinks at dinner and wanted to be alert for the movie. She said “I don’t think this is the type of movie that you’ll fall asleep in”, then she promptly nodded off and started snoring twice during the film and her husband had to wake her up.

    I really hate the slow burn, and the whole lead actor stares in stony silence kind of deal. I just don’t feel Gosling pulls that off very well. I don’t get the love for Albert Brooks at all.

    Man, I hate having a bad movie experience, especially when it seems everyone else is in heaven about it. I guess I’ll just stick to enjoying the absurdity of the Fast and the Furious! I’m not the one for movies called Drive that don’t have totally ridiculous car chases

  • 144 9-18-2011 at 7:25 am

    JJ1 said...

    JTag, thanks for your response. It’s never fun being in the minority (whether you don’t love a film that’s loved or vice-versa).

    When I said ‘over my head’, what I meant was … the romance did very little for me. So the stares/pauses/slow burn only made me more antsy and aloof.

    I admit that I liked an awful lot IN the film (some of the performances, craftsmanship, music, car chase, violence – that didn’t bother me, either). I definitely didn’t dislike the film. I am just not in the love camp.

    And the whole “I’m an existential loner who’s gonna be a hero for this sweet girl and her son because I like them and I’m really some sort of suppressed psychopath who doesn’t don’t know how to feel” thing didn’t sink into me (over my head).

    I think it’s great that so many viewers responded to that. I certainly observed it, but felt very little.

  • 145 9-18-2011 at 7:26 am

    JJ1 said...

    “antsy and aloof”. Maybe not aloof, just unresponsive to it.

  • 146 9-18-2011 at 8:25 am

    JTag said...

    JJ1, I get what you’re saying. I went with two other people and we all hated it, but the common refrain was “I admire it but I didn’t like it.” I can see what it’s going for. It’s just one of those movies for me that I can read through all these comments and go “I wish that scene worked for me the way it worked for you”. (This is pretty much my entire existence when watching the oeuvre of Paul Thomas Anderson). Absolutely nothing worked for me. I didn’t dig the performances except for Bryan Cranston (I couldn’t stand Ron Perlman’s performance), I hate feeling like I’m watching an actress like Carey Mulligan go “This part has no meat to the bone but I get to work with a cool director, so hey, upside for me!”…any movie that feels like “too cool for school” never sits well with me. I’m just not Drive’s audience.

  • 147 9-18-2011 at 8:42 am

    JJ1 said...


  • 148 9-18-2011 at 11:51 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    @ Jesse Crall:

    Thanks for the respectful disagreement. I get the strong disagreement a lot more often. ;-)

    I feel about Pulp Fiction the way the two guys just above me in this thread (especially JTag) feel about Drive.

  • 149 9-18-2011 at 12:10 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Matthew Starr- I’m one who didn’t like the violence and I haven’t seen Irreversible partly because of that reason.

  • 150 9-18-2011 at 12:43 pm

    Robert A. said...

    “And the whole “I’m an existential loner who’s gonna be a hero for this sweet girl and her son because I like them and I’m really some sort of suppressed psychopath who doesn’t don’t know how to feel” thing didn’t sink into me (over my head). ”

    I assume you’re also not a big fan of Taxi Driver.

  • 151 9-18-2011 at 12:44 pm

    Andrew M said...

    Just saw it, loved it. My favorite movie of the year so far, and will probably stay in the top 10.

    I like the idea of the kiss happening in his, but I can also see that’s just him moving her without drawing attention, with the lights going down just apart of the romantics.

    I agree there should of been one more car chase with Ron Pearlman before he died.

  • 152 9-18-2011 at 1:03 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Robert A., ha! Actually, I’m not a big fan of Taxi Driver.

    That said, I am a big fan of De Niro, Scorsese, & other De Niro/Scorsese collaborations.

    I guess it’s that type of narrative I’m not wild about.

    I’ll say this: I liked ‘Drive’ a hell of a lot more than ‘Taxi Driver’.

  • 153 9-18-2011 at 2:01 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    @Chad- I puked after watching Irreversible. Holy shit, that movie is so intense and graphic.

    @redcup- Agree to disagree. I think limited would have served the film well. The polarizing response was bound to happen either way.

  • 154 9-18-2011 at 3:01 pm

    JJ1 said...

    The CinemaScore jumped from C- to C+.

    yay? lol

  • 155 9-18-2011 at 4:43 pm

    Ben M. said...

    I really liked it; the last act wasn’t as good as the first two, but when it was close to being the best film of the year from the first two acts, the whole was very impressive. I’m not sure how its awards prospects will go, but the technical work was amazing for a fairly low budget film and it certainly would deserve noms in categories such as editing and sound mixing.

    As for some of the talking points, after all I heard about the violence the film was less violent than I thought it was going to be, I was expecting one of the most violent R-rated films ever and I would say it wasn’t even the most violent film this week (after Straw Dogs). And I took the elevator scene and ending at their most realistic interpretation, but there is room to view them multiple ways.

  • 156 9-18-2011 at 5:52 pm

    Bryan said...

    Did anyone else think the mask Gosling wears looks like a Tom Cruise?

  • 157 9-18-2011 at 7:24 pm

    Doctor said...

    this is what movies are all about. completely absorbing, breathtakingly beautiful. so much to love.

    i read a few comments on here with people saying they were let down by Perlman’s death, but I thought it was handled wonderfully. I mean, that beach with the lighthouse light flickering by every few seconds? phenomenal.

  • 158 9-18-2011 at 10:34 pm

    Marc R. said...

    For me, Refn’s technique almost simultaneously seems to border on parody and brilliance (this comes to a head in the brilliant elevator sequence). Some cuts in the film felt a bit awkward (for lack of a better word), as did a few of the moments where gosling and/or mulligan wouldn’t talk, and that one song (“real hero” or something) was just awful. I would’ve liked a little more narrative. Other than that i kinda loved it, the minimalism, the compositions, Gosling, and Brooks were all excellent. And truly, not since Michael Mann have we seen a director capture L.A. so well. In a just world, nominations for cinematography, editing, and gosling would be easy calls. I really want to see it again… Also, i think this film has some of the best use of space that I’ve seen in a while, akin to the work of Kurosawa or Leone

  • 159 9-18-2011 at 10:39 pm

    Marc R. said...

    One more time for Gosling. This is definitely Oscar worthy work imo. He brings a focus to the role that is truly something to behold. It’s the type of performance where each look or subtle mannerism is essential to understanding the character.

  • 160 9-19-2011 at 5:50 am

    JJ1 said...

    It’s incredible to come to a site like this and read the commentary here on the film’s quality (good, bad, and in-between) and compare it to something like yahoo users, twop, and other such sites and see the shallow, simple-minded (although, opinion IS opinion) “it was so boring”, “that shit was slow” “who are these actors?” “where was the action?” “this movie sucked” “no one spoke” criticisms. Incontention is so refreshing.

    The disparity between audience(s) opinion (and follow-through of that opinion) is amazing, to me.

  • 161 9-19-2011 at 7:18 am

    Danny King said...

    Finally found some time to put together my review. I saw the film twice in less than 24 hours, and it’s my second four-starrer of the year so far, after “The Tree of Life.”

  • 162 9-19-2011 at 7:31 am

    Keith said...

    JJ1, I agree. In the short while since I discovered this site, it’s become a refuge for me. It’s refreshing to come to a place run by and visited by people genuinely passionate and excited about film.

  • 163 9-19-2011 at 9:51 am

    David Morgan said...

    Here’s a video interview with Nicolas Winding Refn for

  • 164 9-19-2011 at 4:27 pm

    Evan said...

    Did anyone else get confused about the editing when Nino/Perlman is taken out? I thought he was on one side of the car and then he appeared to be on the other…

  • 165 9-19-2011 at 5:24 pm

    JTag said...

    “And truly, not since Michael Mann have we seen a director capture L.A. so well. In a just world, nominations for cinematography, editing, and gosling would be easy calls. ”

    This made me laugh hard, because as I mentioned before I went with two other people who also hated it, and one of them said as we left the theatre “That director was trying so hard to be Michael Mann, and failed miserably. Trying to capture LA like that. Just stop, you can’t be Mann.”

    I guess I shouldn’t tell on myself, but the first thing I said after the movie was over was “I’m going home and firing up ‘Point Break'”. I like what Nathaniel over at Film Experience wrote..I’ll probably be one of those people in 10 years that finds out they now love “Drive”.

  • 166 9-20-2011 at 10:26 am

    Evan said...

    Another question: what was with the Driver walking up to the pizzeria with the mask (to the tune of “Oh My Love”) and then, as soon as the song’s done, he’s back in the car? Did he actually go up there? Why?

  • 167 9-20-2011 at 11:15 am

    JJ1 said...

    I didn’t quite get that, either. ^

  • 168 9-20-2011 at 1:39 pm

    Kyle said...

    I actually found the stolen No Country tagline to be quite fitting as Driver was a bit of an anti-Anton Chigurh. Instead of the guy with the money being chased by an unstoppable killer, the guy with the money IS the unstoppable killer.

    Additionally, I had the feeling that the mask he was wearing was a Jason Statham mask, or at least there was a hint of that…the thought of which was pretty funny to me.

  • 169 9-20-2011 at 7:54 pm

    Tye-Grr said...

    I just picked up the soundtrack to this film because it’s pretty incredible and it’s been stuck in my head since I first watched the film. Awesome stuff.

    @Evan & JJ1- He was going to go in there and kill Ron Perlman, but then he saw it was full of people so he backed out and waited for Perlman to leave. It was made pretty apparent.

  • 170 9-21-2011 at 6:11 am

    JJ1 said...

    Well, call me stupid, then. Makes perfect sense as you’ve said. I just didn’t get that in the moment. But thanks. :)

  • 171 9-21-2011 at 10:18 pm

    John said...

    Yikes, this was bad! Congratulations, audience, when the critics and internet nuts go off into la-la land, I can always count on you guys to smack some sense into them. C-? That’s being generous.

    Storywise, we’ve seen this story a million times before, and we’ll see it a million more. Character-wise? There’s no depth to these characters, they don’t exist, this is purely an exercise in style. The actors are fine, but please don’t be nominating anyone for this.

    Action? The opening scene is a thinking man’s action sequence, there’s another sequence that is reasonably exciting, but again, it’s pure style over substance. (Is there a reason to go into reverse in a car chase? No, but it’s cool.) Still, if you’re going to call yourself DRIVE, I’m expecting one of the all time great car chases… which this movie did not come close to.

    So what are we left with? Style? Yeah, it’s got style. But holding the camera on something for an eternity while playing a synth score can get real old real fast. Yes, the leads have chemistry, but having them stare at the camera ad infinitum gets real old real fast.

    OK, I’m being a little harsh on this movie. but when the critics pull one of their “Emperor’s New Clothes” moves, I get really pissy. If this is supposed to be an 80s, neon drenched action film, then please note that LIVE AND DIE IN LA, STREETS OF FIRE, NEAR DARK, etc all had propulsive stories, gripping excitement.

    And the final showdown between the hero and the villain. Um, what was the villain thinking?

    Yeah, just bad.

  • 172 9-23-2011 at 7:38 pm

    Gamer mom said...

    My favourite movie of the year, just like Bronson was last year. Ryan Gosling was a revelation. Poetic, visceral, stunning. As for “old’s leaving the theatre, I’m 50 and heard some ‘youngs’ complaining about the lack of dialogue and story. If it’s not fed to some of them on a spoon they don’t get it. Am now going to spend the weekend catching up on Gosling’s other acting work, namely Half Nelson and Lars & the Real Girl. If he doesn’t at least get an Oscar nod I’ll be disappointed. Also, I went with my 17 yr old son who is a budding screenwriter. He was blown away that people got up and left the theatre. We are going to see it again next week!!

  • 173 9-25-2011 at 10:19 am

    Keith said...

    Gamer mom, if you were impressed with Gosling just from Drive, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts after seeing him in Half Nelson and Lars. In those movies, along with The Believer and Blue Valentine, Gosling positions himself as one of the most interesting and exciting actors we have in film today, in my humble opinion.

  • 174 10-04-2011 at 2:39 pm

    Mr Chrillster said...

    I am of those few people who feels Gosling isn´t that great.Not bad and certainly not when he shows emotion…but Driver.One facial expression.A smile you don´t know if it belongs to someone who cares,tries to fit in or is a complete sociopath.Well,he´s all those things.He shows emotion one time n in a completely random scene.This movie has a great soundtrack,it doesn´t shy away from gore,this is brutal stuff,it´s tense….but in an actionmovie that gives the impression of being characterdriven,we really don´t get close to anyone.Best performance easily comes from Oscar Isaac .More screentime might´ve earned him an oscarnom,surprised he took a role like this.In a attempt,successful attempt to surprise us,we unfortunately loose a human touch IMO. Good,original but not great film.

  • 175 10-06-2011 at 8:00 pm

    tom said...

    Hands down the coolest movie I HAVE EVER SEEN IN QUITE SOME TIME. The elevator scene is a classic. It deserves oscar consideration.

  • 176 12-08-2011 at 5:21 pm

    Big Braveheart said...

    Best film of 2011 and hands down the coolest film in a long, long time. A bonafied and instant crime classic. Gosling immense, Brooks incredible and Refn’s direction superb. Throw in great visuals, an amzing soundtrack and a superb supporting cast and you have a real winner. SHOULD win big at the Oscars but will PROBABLY be harshly overlooked bar a couple of awards. Trust me this deserves every accolade it gets!

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