As one of my favourite films of the year, I was extremely disappointed to see that Drive was snubbed from the Best Picture category. Gosling’s performance was intense to say the least. I mean, I’m still obsessed with the scene following Standard’s return home. And the music! This soundtrack is certainly worth giving a listen. I was a bit thrown off by the Desperately Seeking Susan-esque title cards and music but as the film progressed, the ’80s references seemed more and more appropriate. I’ve watched this film a couple times and love every second of it. Its got some gory moments but a well done film nonetheless.
Hollywood Drives Home Another Hit
In the style of a 1980s Los Angeles heist film, Drive follows the story of a getaway driver and his unfortunate mistakes that lead to the eventual demise of each character, through either death or personal destruction.
With mixed reviews, the film stood out as a strong contender for the Academy Awards in Ryan Gosling’s silent-but-deadly portrayal of the unnamed driver. It’s hard to believe, after viewing, that Gosling was actually a replacement for Hugh Jackman and not first choice. However, its nomination in the Sound Editing category was less than exciting.
One part of this nomination I can get behind is the film’s soundtrack. The electronica pop and synthesizer sounds used throughout leave behind a nostalgic feeling that, for some reason, brought to mind Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and its campy, late-’70s-style visuals.
But it’s hard to deny that this film has inspired a cult following. The silk scorpion bomber jacket that Gosling sports throughout has become an iconic symbol of the film and even had some bloggers calling for its very own Oscar nod. Adding to the scorpion imagery is the reference to the Scorpion and the Frog fable as credited by IMDB: “Driver references the fable of The Scorpion and the Frog: the frog agrees to carry the scorpion across the river; the scorpion stings the frog, saying “it’s my nature” and both drown. Driver can be seen as The Frog of the story – he drives/carries criminals (scorpions) around in his car, but is inevitably dragged into their destructive world (stung) leading to everybody’s downfall. Driver’s jacket has a scorpion on the back, just as the frog carried the scorpion on its back.”
Bryan Cranston‘s portrayal of the driver’s colleague Shannon was pivotal in the film as he often led the driver down an unmistakably dangerous path in arranging and encouraging his getaway driving. Displaying an aged look perfect for representing the toll that the life of a con artist takes, Cranston was certainly listed as a potential nominee this year.
The film’s mystery, including the driver’s lack of a name, was also a factor contributing to its successful reception. While quite violent in parts, the driver maintains his good-guy persona especially when dealing with his neighbour and love interest Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son, Benicio (Kaden Leos). Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks were as ruthless as conmen get in portraying Nino and Bernie Rose, who are heavily involved with the mafia.
The film opens and closes with Gosling driving in his 1973 Chevy Chevelle that he restored himself and there is an obvious lack of dialogue that adds to the longing nature of the relationship between Driver and Irene. While some called the film slow, its one film that requires close attention and a patient audience because in the end, its an amazing film that will leave you wondering, “What if?”