“Drive” is several movies at once:
A slick action film with car chase sequences to
rival any of the muscle car, musclehead predictable silliness,
A character study of people who are slow to
speak, and not quick to smile, even in greeting one another, are almost
devoid of small talk, and are comfortable with long silences.
In this way, it’s almost like an old Western.
An examination of stunted emotional growth.
All of the characters live so much inside
their own skin that they’re almost incapable of considering the
consequences for anyone else, which, of course, creates a lot of chaos and
An orgy of raw physical violence, almost akin
to a slasher film, with spurts of blood, face covered in blood, bleeding out
on the floor, sudden stab wounds, a sharp knife plunged into the eye, faces
blown away at close range, even literally kicking someone’s head in until
it’s nothing but a bloody pulp.
A careless display of nudity among the extras,
where dancers in a topless bar dressing room just sit around with their
shirts off staring at people who are arguing in front of them, and we stare
at them, as if their being unclothed meant no more to them than……the
fact that they spend their lives with everybody in the room staring at them.
Ah, but what if we didn’t?
A frustrating offering of completely unrequited
love. The main character claims, at
the end, that the best time of his life was when he was with her.
And yet all they did was hold hands, once, at her instigation, and
kiss, once, at his, which was actually just a calculated distraction prior
to yet another slaying. Where’s the
And yet, we cannot quit looking at
Ryan Gosling, as the main character, even if he is devoid of any emotion
except anger. Nor can we stop looking
at Carey Mulligan, who somehow manages to convey emotional depth by her mere
silence, by an anguished glance, eyes suddenly brimming with tears, a
tightening of the jaw and the pursing of the lips.
This actress’ acting adulation is well-deserved.
Throw in a smarmy Oscar Isaac, a mincing Bryan Cranston, a cheesy
Christina Hendricks, a grotesquely menacing Ron Perlman, and a calculatingly
cruel Albert Brooks, and you have a secondary cast worthy of a film school
project, a greasy garage full of smelly caricatures.
The tempo and the lighting and the
pacing are so carefully controlled that you’ll feel manipulated, but, like
the classic horrific car crash, you can’t take your eyes away.
It just won’t capture your heart.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor,
St. Stephens Presbyterian Church, Irving, Texas