Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Drive he said

DRIVE certain delivers! To all those other classic iconic cinema loners (think Travis Bickle in TAXI DRIVER, that other Ryan (O'Neal) in Walter Hill's THE DRIVER (1978) with the suitably enigmatic Isabelle Adjani, Julian Kaye in AMERICAN GIGOLO (any Schrader hero will do!) or Heath Ledger's Ennis Del Mar locked into himself eating his solitary meal in the diner in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN - there are echoes of them all here (as well as those lone killers Alain Delon in Melville's LE SAMURAI, Lee Marvin in Boorman's POINT BLANK, Walter Matthau in Siegel's CHARLEY VARRICK) - now there is Ryan Gosling's nameless driver in this character-driven, slow-burn thriller of the first order that features elements of some of the finer works from directors like Scorsese, Michael Mann, Tarantino, Walter Hill and Sam Peckinpah, as directed here by a director new to me, Nicolas Winding Refn. It will be interesting to see what he does next...

The film is an electric mixture of beautiful lingering cinematography, a pulsating soundtrack, lean dialogue and short bursts of graphic, bloody violence. It's tense and involving; almost impossible not to get immersed in.

Ryan Gosling is the embodiment of cool, as the well-intentioned but unstoppable force who works as stunt driver, garage hand and occasional driver for robberies. His solitary life is interrupted when he slowly gets involved with the girl down the hall and her little son, while her husband is in prison. Once the husband is out, the driver is drawn into a heist which of course goes wrong, putting him, the girl and the boy in danger. We are dealing with terrifying men here and the action is suitably graphic for the various slayings. One memorable scene is in an elevator with the driver and the girl as he realises the other guy has a gun and is after them, as time slows down ... and then speeds up. I love the look of the film, all those night scenes, the often dark and dream-like LA setting, the driving, the music, Carey Milligan is marvellous again and suggests so much with so little dialogue, as does Gosling. I am now looking forward to seeing him in CRAZY STUPID LOVE and THE IDES OF MARCH. That ending too is perfect ... In all, a movie I want to sit my friends down in front of and make them love it too. And you can cut out and dress up Ryan too ...

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