Modern Classic or Overrated: Drive
On Friday night I saw the movie Drive for the first time. The movie, a tale about gangsters in Los Angeles, is considered a modern classic coming top of best films of the year lists the year it came out. Sadly after watching it, I can’t understand why. For me the film was lacking something and felt like Reservoir Dogs without the Tarantino dialogue, The Godfather without the Italians or Layer Cake without the British stars. What I’m trying to say in a round about way is that the story is a standard gangster plot wrapped up in flashy camera work. In many ways the film feels really 80s with Ryan Gosling looking like he has just walked off the set of Top Gun. Talking of Gosling, while his performance is good it looks like acting. He is the strong silent cliché that Clint Eastwood made a career out of. Fatally I did not care about his character or whether he lived or died. Worse I felt the same about Carey Mulligan. A friend of mine once said when we were talking about the film Never Let Me Go:
What happened to all the charisma that Andrew Garfield had in Social Network
That is how I feel about Mulligan in Drive. Her performance is still great but I’d have liked a bit more human warmth in it. I was much more interested in Bryan Cranston‘s character of Shannon who seems much more interesting than Driver (the only name given for Gosling’s character) or Irene ( Carey Mulligan).
However, the direction of the movie is great with Nicolas Winding Refn definitely making sure the film looks unique and he rightly deserves the Best Director Award he won at Cannes film festival. However, I like a human connection in my movies and so being pretty isn’t enough for me. My feelings can be best summed up by Michael Phillips’ review in the Chicago Tribune when he said:
a muddle of ultraviolence, hypocrisy and stylistic preening, which won’t be any sort of deterrent for those who like its looks.