Isaacs Picture Conclusions

DRIVE (2011) FIVE TOP HATS

(This is an old post that I put together a while back that I thought I would share again – AND, I’m testing something out 🙂 )

1) A year or so ago, I was reading something on the upcominghorrormovies site, I can’t remember what movie it was but one of their reviewers gave it a 10 out of 10 and then some asshole came around on the message boards griping about how giving something a 10/10 means “it’s the perfect movie” and “(the reviewer) mentioned flaws so how could it logically be a perfect 10” and how stupid the reviewer is and whatever else – troll. I don’t do this for a newspaper or TV show or anything else, so my FIVE out of FIVE means that I thought this movie was fucking FANTASTIC – despite a few things I could have, personally, lived without. When I first watched “KICK ASS” however long ago on a Friday night, I got up and posted my thoughts on our old website, then watched it Saturday night and again on Sunday I liked it so much – 5 TH. When I first saw “Frozen” I liked it so much I watched it twice in one day – 5 TH. After I saw “RED” in the theaters, I waited patiently for it to be released on BLU-RAY and I bought it – I’ve probably seen it ten times – 5 TH. So – this guy LOVED “Drive” and I wish it wasn’t Sunday, because I would love to watch it again. Maybe I even will while the wife watches the Grammys.

2) I put off seeing this because I don’t like it when papers or commercials or people I work with or whatever tell me what “I have to watch” and “what I’ll like” – that pretty much puts me off and makes me not want to watch or eat somewhere or go someplace and then when I do, it’s pre-tainted and I don’t enjoy it just for spite. I have never cared for Ryan Gossling (until now – please do something like this again), I have never, ever liked Albert Brooks (he did EXCELLENT in this) and, despite the MPAA threat advisory of: Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language and some nudity, the concept wasn’t a catalyst for making me want to run out and see this (can I use two colons in one sentence?): “A mysterious Hollywood stuntman, mechanic and getaway driver lands himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.”

3) I can never really tell, but I think the poster above is “fan art” and I would never want to steal anyone’s fine work – so – all rights reserved to whoever made that poster (which sells me much more than what I’ll try to remember to post below).

4) This movie stars strong-but-silent Ryan Gossling (as “Driver”), petite-and-perfect Carey Mulligan (Irene), where-did-this-come-from Albert Brooks (Bernie), a great-and-oh-man-sympathetic Bryan Cranston (Shannon) and is-this-guy-in-9-out-of-10-distributed-movies Ron Perlman (Nino). Trust me – the entire cast did fantastic – especially considering (thank you gods of the west) there is very little dialogue and most of the interactions come via long, (I love it!) effective slow motion and face acting. Despite how good Gossling, Mulligan, Cranston and Brooks are, the Top Hats need to go off to the director Nicolas Winding Refn (also the director of the strange but brutal “Valhalla Rising” which was probably better than how I reviewed it, but I just didn’t quite get it). I thought the direction of this was incredible and (if you know me by reading these) the use of slow motion throughout the entire film was just plain bad ass, especially that hotel room scene.

5) I feel I should mention two of the support: Oscar Isaac (no relation) as the character “Standard” and Christina Hendricks (from Mad Men) as “Blanche” who has two, for lack of better words, wicked-awesome scenes: one (that I rewound) in the back seat of a car and then the first “WHAT!-brutal-violence-shot” of the movie. After reading the threat advisory, I thought we were in for a gruesome, special effect “arm break” or something, but – NOPE.  To be sure – the violence in this starts about half way in, and it’s tough to look at.

6) The score for this is absolutely perfect in building the tension. The deep, tumbling bass really enhanced the feel of the long (beautifully long) set-ups leading up to the big payoff in whatever happened to be going on at the time. Now – a quick definition from Wiki: “A film score (also sometimes called background music or incidental music) is original music written specifically to accompany a film, forming part of the film’s soundtrack, which also usually includes dialogue and sound effects. The score comprises a number of orchestral, instrumental or choral pieces called cues which are timed to begin and end at specific points during the film in order to enhance the dramatic narrative and the emotional impact of the scene in question. Songs are usually not considered part of the film’s score, although songs do also form part of the film’s soundtrack.” One thing that didn’t fit in Drive – the “songs” used infrequently in here do not, whatsoever fit the tone of this movie. They sound like shitty old 80’s synth-pop (think Tangerine Dream) and could should have just been omitted altogether.

7) To many people (if not most), the lack of words coming out of Gossling’s mouth might be off-putting. He stares and stares and and mumbles “mm-hmm” and does some more staring and then, for good measure, some more staring, but this really, really works if you give it time. In the third act, when he finally does do some talking – the previous “lack of” renders this very effective. Another thing with the lack of dialogue, towards the end, one character is about to get their comeuppance on the beach, and there’s none of the cheap “PLEASE PLEASE SPARE ME I’LL GIVE YOU ANYTHING! ANYTHING YOU WANT!!’ bullshit – it’s just done very well.

8) To mention a “flaw” – Drive starts off very tense: Gossling is a Driver for whoever hires him, he doesn’t care or question what’s going on, he just drives thugs away from what  thievery they have to do. After the first one, he moves in to a new apartment and meets Mulligan and her kid. The next thirty or so minutes of “character interaction and emotional set up” are pretty uneventful. So uneventful in fact that I almost feel asleep. That’s not me being a dickhead and posting “this movie is so boring I fell asleep during it!!!!” This is me saying that I was laying on the couch during a 20 degree outside afternoon, by the fire, nothing was happening onscreen and I was so comfortable I almost dozed off. Then – at minute 40-something, this picks up and gets 5 out of 5 awesome.

9) I don’t think I need to write another thousand words about the plot – just see this. Gossling is a bad ass who only talks when he has something important to say. Mulligan is his sweet next door neighbor with an ex-con husband (Isaac), they all mingle and things go bad with some wanna be crime-lords (Brooks and Perlman). Cranston is the never-got-lucky, hard times fellow who just wants to make some money and Hendricks is just around for a little bit as a good looking redheaded crook. Things don’t go well for most of the characters in this and it really is incredibly violent. If you watch this, you will see a very well made Motion Picture – but be prepared for some blood.

10) BRAVO BRAVO WELL DONE EVERYONE

This didn’t entice me to overcome my withdrawals:

I do like this one, but it wouldn’t have changed anything either:

77 comments

  1. “Fucking Fantastic” you say sir? Well, I say… Your “Fucking spot on bro”. I love, love, love this movie. The more I see it, the more it’s creeping into my all time Top Ten favourite movies.

    Like

    • theipc

      YES! Fucking A! This movie really blew my mind how good it was, especially since I was initially opposed to seeing it I have got to watch it again. And then again for good measure. Good stuff, Mark!

      Like

  2. Actually, I agree with the so-called “troll” in the first point. Unless otherwise stated (IE by the reviewer who assigns the ratings)… any time a movie is given a score of 100% means that the reviewer essentially found it flawless or is the epitome of perfect filmmaking. I mean, that’s why you HAVE a number rating system, right? It’s why I find the system like the one at IMDb fundamentally flawed, because too many people throw around 9s and 10s and 1s, seemingly forgetting there are about seven other numbers to choose from, and why I dislike the number rating system in general. I mean, why even have a number system for scoring if you are essentially not even going to abide by it? It’s almost as useless as people who give something “six out of five”, pretty much defeating the purpose of a five-star rating.

    /rant

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    • theipc

      TheBruce! Where have you been lately? Sure, I understand but, the way I do things here, if you’ve ever checked out my “about” page, or the OVERVIEW page, I describe my ranking system and my 5s don’t mean I think it’s perfect but that the movie has “made my life more enjoyable”, which Drive certainly did. I thought the first 30 minutes of it were pretty boring but then it got balls out awesome and I loved it! Thanks for stopping by, as always.

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      • No no, I get that. But a lot of reviewers don’t specify what their ratings otherwise represent or don’t want to because it’s pretty much given what a number system is for, right? The closer you get to 10/10 or 5/5 or what have you, the better the film is supposed to be. Which is where the controversy arises.

        As to where I’ve been… Man… I’ve just been really fucking busy and then lazy over the past month or so. Hopefully I’ll have something to post soon.

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  3. jpthorn

    This movie blew me away and I watched it at a drive-in. I think it is largely due to the fact that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be your typical summer action film with high speed car chases. But man was I wrong (in a good way). Five Top Hats is warranted.

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  4. garylee828

    This is definitely in my top 25 favorites all-time. I think I liked it even more than you. I didn’t think the first 30 minutes were dull at all; i think they did an excellent job of developing the characters and building a story. I loved the long silences between Gosling and Mulligan b/c it felt true to life; when you meet someone and become infatuated with them, etc. you often become speechless, and I thought Refn conveyed this quite well. And I think the synthesized 80’s vibe songs fit the movie immaculately. It offered it that “John Hughes-Breakfast Club/Some Kind of Wonderful” feel.

    The scene after Standard comes home and they have a welcome-home party for him while that 80’s-like song plays and shifts between the party and Driver working in an isolated room while you know he’s trying to shift his focus from Irene while you can clearly tell Irene is at the party thinking about Driver while her husband vows to change his ways and always be there for her, etc. The scene does such a great job of building tension and setting the stage.

    Love this movie! 🙂

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  5. garylee828

    Oh brother, I just looked up “Place Beyond The Pines” on here and don’t see a review. Did you miss this one? If so, and you liked “Drive” you definitely need to watch Place Beyond The Pines. Ryan Gosling plays a very similar character in this one as “Drive”. The first act of PBTP is as strong a first act of any film ever made! It is absolutely flawless! The first act ends around the 40-45 minute mark and at that point the story shifts in a different direction and I’m not sure if you’d love the shift or hate it, but I’m 99% sure you’d love the first act. The first act alone makes the film a masterpiece to me. The first act has pretty much everything you could ask for in a film. I wish they kept going in that same direction for the entire film.

    And like you said in your entry that you find it annoying at times when people are like “Oh, you have to see this!” and it kind of puts you off, etc. but hopefully you don’t include me in that category b/c what I do is evaluate what kinds of films certain individuals like and then I try to offer them recommendations based off their personal likes. I wouldn’t recommend something to someone simply b/c I liked it. I offer them recommendations based off their likes and films I think they’d dig. I’m usually pretty accurate. But I think over the last year you’ve gotten an idea what kinds of films I like, so you offer me recommendations. That’s why I started movie blogging in the first place. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • theipc

      About PBTP, still haven’t seen it because I’m really NOT a Gosling fan, despite Drive. Remember how much I hated OGF??

      And no – never put you in that category – I liked the first half of 8 Mile, just haven’t finished it yet – am going to try this weekend but….. COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!! and my fucking FF draft day – which I hate LOL.

      But – you know how I watch my movies by now. I just finished Casino Royale this afternoon and REALLY liked it. It took me three days around my schedule but it was really good. I didn’t like the actual before the credits ending but it was a solid movie.

      This surprises me how Skyfall SUCKED.

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      • garylee828

        YES I forgot I recommended Casino Royale! How awesome was Mads Mikkelsen!? And Daniel Craig?? The final frame of “Casino Royale” was perfect b/c it was a reboot to restart the Bond franchise and so it sets the stage and lets the viewer know what’s to come. Same thing with the ending of “Batman Begins” when Gordon hands Batman the card and says “this criminal needs to be tracked” and Batman glances at the “Joker” card. It was just perfect b/c it set the stage and builds anticipation. This is what the final frame of a film should do! 🙂

        I’m glad you liked “Casino Royale”. It is so well written and so much better than the typical action film with a lot of predictable action and dialogue, etc. In “Casino Royale” you never knew what was around the corner. Everything fell in line and made sense. The ending regarding Eva Green’s character was a total surprise. One of my top 10 favorites of all time!!

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      • garylee828

        Oh dude, no worries, “The Place Beyond The Pines” is NOTHING like “Only God Forgives”. Gosling plays a character very similar as Driver. Gosling played an entirely different character in Only God Forgives than in Drive and Place Beyond The Pines. You don’t have to be a fan of Gosling to like “Place Beyond The Pines” but after seeing Drive AND Place Beyond The Pines, you may start to become a fan. The less you know about Place Beyond The Pines, the better. You should go in cold. I assure you, it’s nothing like Only God Forgives – and if you haven’t seen “Only God Forgives” already, I wouldn’t recommend it to you b/c I don’t think it’s your type of film. But “Place Beyond The Pines” I think you’ll like – or at least the first act. The reason I’ve never suggested it to you before is b/c I honestly thought you disliked “Drive”. For some reason I thought it was one of the films I’ve seen you and Tyson debate, and I know Tyson loves it, so I thought you hated it. Now that I know you love “Drive” I urge you to check out “Place Beyond The Pines” as the first act has a similar story as “Drive” BUT minus the 80’s synthesizer tracks and the first act isn’t slow, as some may interpret the first act of “Drive” to be (even though I don’t see it that way at all). Place Beyond The Pines was my top film for 2012.

        Liked by 1 person

      • garylee828

        I didn’t watch “The Hidden Face.” I experienced it! I gasped when the twist was revealed. I could only imagine how that girl was feeling. And the set-up just made the tension that much more powerful. Another one of my top favorites!

        Liked by 1 person

    • theipc

      My dearest JBSBJS,

      I don’t know what the fuck is going on with this post….!!! I know I posted this thing twice in the past – I iwsh I had found the one with your comments :((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

      Love,

      Saddest SC

      Liked by 1 person

    • theipc

      JB!!!

      I hope you have a GREAT weekend!! Missed you today – don’t be such a stranger!!!

      I figured out what was going on with these comments. What a pain in the butt. Here’s what you had to say last time around:

      I LOVE this write up my Chop! This is like a super favourite of mine, I have watched the crap out of it. I saw it twice again in the last week (don’t you dare even judge me, you watched The Professional on a loop!!!!). I thought the soundtrack was a bit strange the first time that I watched it, but it works. The more I watch it, the more I love it, it tells its whole own story and it is awesome. Imagine how crushed I was, I watched this and had my mind blown then moved straight on to Only God Forgives and almost shot someone (you remember the emails). I should have just listened to you about that one.

      Another thing, that kiss in the elevator? It gives me goosebumps every time I watch that scene. It is SO perfectly executed and I LOVE it! I just loved everything about this movie. I will stop gushing now. There will be a more extended write up coming up tomorrow (imagine that) as a guest blog, so you can read there if you want hahaha!

      You know, I always thought this would be something you liked. Minimal dialogue, but sufficient to keep it all going, and enough action and gore haha!

      Love,

      SSC

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome review. I love this film. Have had some really interesting discussions with people who fricking hated it as well. I always love the soundtrack of ‘shitty synth’ music. I actually spent a butt-ton of money buying the soundtrack on vinyl.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pappy!!!
    I also loved loved loved this movie! You make excellent points above! Gosling’s character worked because not saying much suited who the character was. I loved that he just looked at stuff and would only speak when necessary (an underdeveloped skill for the human race). It built tension and WORKED! Also, really liked Carey in here. She rocks most of the time!
    Kidney

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I know I commented on this before, dammit. I’m past the Ds. Where’s my comment?! ; )

    Well, I’m pretty sure I just said that I love… Guess what? Guess what I love the MOST about this movie??? ; )

    Like

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