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Submitted on
January 4, 2012


153 (who?)

by techgnotic
Wed Jan 4, 2012, 9:30 PM

Why Drive will be the movie that is remembered in years to come

Film Noir is a genre of “life in the shadows” movies that became popular in America during
the uncertain times of World War II.  Westerns have remained a shorthand for the American
psyche with their sullen outsiders with a personal code of honor bucking the system.  
Samurai films mirror the lone avenger protagonist, but set against a longing for a lost
society of incorruptible values. Now and again a notable contemporary noir or western or
samurai film emerges with little fanfare amidst all the commercial cacophony of the louder,
bolder, more spectacular action films that rule today’s box office.  One such gem of film
blending all three genres flashed out of the shadows briefly in 2011.  It’s called “Drive”
and I think it is the greatest artistic achievement of the past year.

Sometimes the poster art for a movie tells it all

The artworks for the two or three “Drive” posters show the eyes of a man looking in the rearview
mirror or a young man’s back clothed in a flashy motorcycle jacket emblazoned with a scorpion
design. Got it. I looked forward to a cool stunts-filled chase movie. What I got was something
far more.  Because sometimes the movie’ poster is more than a tease – sometimes the poster indicates
a portal to be passed through – in this case into the darkness and pain that drives one man’s bleak
existence, and into the deep recesses of memory and loss and flickering hope that serve as the “drive”
to all our lives.  The word drive on the poster had a different definition than the one you presumed
as you walked into the theatre. “Drive” captures the desire to find life worth living in even the
direst circumstances like no other recent film I can quickly bring to mind.

Drive Film Poster by gamma724Drive. by NekemDrive Poster: Albert Brooks by LCDModestyMSCE Day 121 - Drive Poster by billpyleDrive Poster Variant by RustyCharles

While “Drive” might be likened to recent paeans to nihilistic violence as a response to our
stagnating, stupefying times – films such as “American Psycho” and “Fight Club” – it has a real
core humanity and heart missing from those stylishly cynical films.  Where those films seek to
shock, “Drive” and the Driver himself simply seeks to survive, to find a way out, to live. There
is the already “instant classic” “scene in the elevator” that perfectly arcs from the fatalistic
melancholy of a doomed romantic love to the most brutal violence so brilliantly fitting that you
will never get it out of your head. It is the pivot encapsulating the soul of the film that is
both so beautiful and yet so horrible that it blows away any single scene of any other movie shot
recently.  Talk about your “zero to sixty in under four seconds”...

The Driver by ~Bilou020285

“The Driver” has no name in the film...

Being perhaps emblematic of a force of nature just trying to
keep pushing forward.  The character, played with effective understatement by Ryan Gosling, evokes
the silent hero who does not volunteer; his valor is in “sticking” despite danger, or in returning
to protect innocents or comrades in harm’s way – very much like Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name”
in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns or Han Solo in “Star Wars”.  There is a moral code underneath
all of that pain driven by a reverence in protection of the innocent rather than the usual imperative
of self interest.

Director Nicolas Refn frames the scenes of the story in a detached “observational” manner that makes them even
more starkly effective than any standard gritty “shaky-cam” treatment might achieve.  His forensic POV calls
to mind such Stanley Kubrick classics as “The Killing” and “A Clockwork Orange”. The ability to adapt stories
from exceptional original source material, like James Sallis’s novella, is an art seemingly becoming lost with
so many of today's high-power directors shooting their own original screenplays. It as much a talent to be able to
“illuminate” an already great work of art to produce an equally or possibly even greater work of art as it is
to be an auteur of a singular vision.  I hope Refn goes on to be our next Kubrick and decides to frame the
greatest novels of our time.  Judging by this, he has a real shot.

The other unexpectedly magical ingredient running through this is film is the Bernie Rose character played by
Albert Brooks.  He is brilliantly portrayed as a monster who’s self awareness of the banality of his day to day
necessary cruelties has long since numbed him to taking any pleasure in being a gangster.  He expresses not so much
as even a glimmer of self-satisfaction in the expert efficiency with which he eliminates human obstacles.   The
scene in which he suddenly slices open the arm of a long time associate, then immediately, gently reassures his
victim that the worst is over and there would be no more pain in his imminent death aptly illustrates the boredom
of a killer long overdue for retirement.

Actor Gosling, screenwriter Hossein Amini and director Refn have managed to inject passion into a brilliant yet purposely
airless novella in such a way as to create a film burning from end to end with a compressed fire to light the darkest noir.  
It is remarkable on every level. It will be initially lost amidst the crush of “bigger” entries.  It is also destined to be one
of those movies that is “rediscovered” again and again, generation after generation, for years to come.

Talking about you, boy by SammywolfA Hero by Cre8tiveComplexDrive by amaraa41

deviantART Film Community —

Invitation to a conversation for 2012

This article is also a call to the Film community here on dA to ask for your thoughts, input, and opinions on what types
of subject matter and articles you would like to see me focus on this year.  I am going to begin with a feature dedicated
to Movie poster artists here on dA as a first step but I would love to hear feedback on where to take it from there.  Are
there any deviants in the Film community that you feel I must interview as soon as possible?

Questions for the Reader:

  1. Which do you think is more important: the technical action sequences and general art design of a film? the quality of the writing, direction and acting? or the vision of “human truth” interwoven with the plot and action?
  2. Do you like it when “action films” turn out to have a powerful dramatic “message” as well?  Or do you think this is an unnecessary distraction from what should be sheer “meaningless” entertainment?
  3. What are the “action” films you watched just to have some fun – but were unexpectedly greatly moved by, emotionally or intellectually?
  4. What were your favorite films of 2011?

Add a Comment:
SpacemanFront Feb 23, 2012  Student General Artist
I loved Drive. It was hands down one of the best films of 2011. The soundtrack was great and to top it all off, the budget for the film was very low. Blew me away!
TheBebopman Jan 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Drive was seriously amazing. My bro recommended it to me for the 80's style music and sheer awesomeness of Ryan Gosling.

As far as the questions:
1- All of the above. You can't separate those pieces in to which is more important in a medium like film, they all must work together or the whole of the experience is
lessened. It all depends on what the goal of the film-maker is. Maybe a director doesn't have a deep message to convey and only wants to blow stuff up and stun the audience with effects (Looking at you Michael Bay) or because of the message and meaning he's trying to get across lets writing quality slide (Looking at you George Lucas with your awful episodes 1-3) or perhaps they get too wrapped up in both the acting and message and the film becomes a long drawn out 'art peice' which fails to hold our interest and attention because its pacing is too slow or the action involved is too few and far between (Looking at Mad Max here, a good example of what's considered a classic film but very slow and for the most part a boring failure if you weren't predisposed to be intrigued by the undertones.

2- Depends. Honestly I think any film that tricks people into feeling the dramatic message if they initially only wanted to watch it for the blood and guts, did a good
job. Then there are films that don't even try though, its all about the action. On the whole though I think most people can identify better with a plot or a character that is fighting FOR something, and specifically something positive. Not a revenge story or a survival story necessarily but action in the name of that deeper ideal that the character(s) defend. Book of Eli, is an excellent example. Its got a message from the start though so it might not fit into the pure action genre despite the fair amount of violence and blood. Legion, might be better. That for the most part is all action and for a fairly straightforward reason, until the two angels confront each other at the end and it gets into the real message.

3- The most recent one I can think of that really sucked me in was just this last year. Battle: Los Angeles. I wasn't even very interested in it at first, just something
to watch in the background or flip back and forth to while searching for something else. But after the first 10 minutes I couldn't turn it off. It is action all the way, battling across L.A. with aliens. Ridiculous when you think about it. But damn did they do an excellent job. I was emotionally involved for the whole film.

4- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The Adjustment Bureau
Battle: Los Angeles
Sucker Punch
The Beaver
X-Men: First Class
Bad Teacher
Super 8
The Rum Diary and of course
Thank you, for this great review - Drive is sadly and outrageously underrated! It was my favourite film in 2011 by far - and I watch A LOT of movies, occupationally.
(I'll make sure to come back and answer the readers questions more adequately, but now it's far to late and my thoughts are warbled.)
ACupOfLennonade Jan 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I looooove Ryan Gosling. Uff.
JaxBnice Jan 12, 2012  Professional Artist
I agree! I listen to it all of the time
vyletcrush Jan 5, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
favorite films of 2011
:bulletred: "The Mechanic"
:bulletred: "Hanna"
:bulletred: "Drive" of course!

truly a great article $techgnotic! thank you for sharing this! :highfive:
Obsidian-Fate Jan 4, 2012  Student General Artist
1. A movie must have technical action sequences and general art and film, otherwise where's the movie of film.
Acting must be smooth, if not it would be unobvious, and it would not popular or a proper movie... in a sense.

2. Action movies do seem very more understanding, when they have a dramatic story, because a dramatic story is brought up and reminded of pretty much all the time in the movie. If was a story that wasn't inportant, (like a little investigation on a stolen carrot... for an example). It would be at least a few minutes and forgotten and then brought up but then instantly forgotten again.

3. A movie I watched for fun once on television, was Neill Blomkamp's Action, Thriller "District 9". After watching the movie for the first time i just thought "Wow, what a great movie." And then I just borrowed it now and then from the video store. But everytime after watching it, I just felt like I was apart of that story and how sad it would of been for "Wikus Van De Merwe" (Sharlto Copley) after he fully became a "Prawn" (Alien species/race of D-9). And his wife "Tania Van De Merwe" (Vanessa Haywood) finding a metal rose he made and somehow sneaked it to her door. about an hour it leaves me thinking and how amazing this movie is, it moves me so much after watching it.

4. the movies i have seen and liked are: "We bought a Zoo", "War horse (haven't watched)" and " Puss in Boots."
TimberClipse Jan 4, 2012  Professional Filmographer
As a deviant in the film community, I really wanted to respond to this as soon as I saw it :eager:. Although most of my work is off site, and in production such as my current film, I try to share my work with deviants here as well and slowly will be moving more and more of my work onto dA.

Which do you think is more important: the technical action sequences and general art design of a film? the quality of the writing, direction and acting? or the vision of “human truth” interwoven with the plot and action?
Given my interest in cinematography, I would be drawn to say that, as without a good visual element in a film, the film is lost. However, I don't think that any could be seen as being more important, each has to work together to be able to create a good film. Without one part the film is lost no matter how good 90% of it is.
Do you like it when “action films” turn out to have a powerful dramatic “message” as well? Or do you think this is an unnecessary distraction from what should be sheer “meaningless” entertainment?
I think it can be very good for an action film to have a powerful message, however that would only be the case if the story leads it that way. If the message is just added in sense "just because it could be", then it would detract from the film instead.
What are the “action” films you watched just to have some fun – but were unexpectedly greatly moved by, emotionally or intellectually?
By far one of the most amazing films I have seen would be Black Hawk Down. Not only is Slawomir Idziak's cinematography absolutely gorgeous, the story and the emotional connection you make with the characters in that film makes it one of the most powerful I have ever seen. The directing in that film is also just wonderful!
What were your favorite films of 2011?
Hard question! I personally have to go with Hugo and Harry Potter as the new releases this year. For me Harry Potter was more of the closing of an era that myself and everyone else my age has grown up with. Since I can remember, Harry, Hermione and Ron were always a part of my life (especially Ron ;P). Hugo because the cinematography (especially the 3D cinematography) was gorgeous and the acting was super. The opening sequence when we see the boy running and the camera doesn't cut is just amazing
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