I am not a fan of slow-burn movies. Blame it on the collective A.D.D. that three-screening has conferred upon all of us with on-demand access to the Internet, or on the fact that I am a philistine. If a movie takes its time getting there, it will have to get there on its own because I am no longer along for the ride.
Drive is a slow movie, and yet, I was along for the ride every step of the way.
Which leads me to conclude that it doesn’t matter how slight a movie’s plot is—and Drive’s story is wafer-thin—as long as the filmmaker is in control of the material.
It doesn’t hurt that Ryan Gosling owns the screen. Again.
Or that cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel and editor Matthew Newman have done such effective jobs that it feels like they served merely as extra sets of arms, eyes and legs in service of the storytellers.
From random reading on the Internet I’ve gleaned that the screenplay by Hossein Amini off the book by James Sallis was spare to begin with. And apparently the film does away with elements even from that. So wow, we are clearly getting just the juiciest sinew out of this story.
The soundtrack is fantastic (any mention of this movie is incomplete without reference to the music), and that opening car chase sequence alone is worth the price of admission. The camera remaining within the confines of the car for the duration of the chase? I’ve never seen that done before. And it works.
I heartily recommend this movie, but I do so with a warning: don’t settle in to watch it unless you are willing to commit to seeing it through. Not because there is some great twist in the end (there isn’t) but because you will only experience it properly if you turn off all other handheld devices, avoid checking email for the duration of the movie, and give in to the atmosphere so richly created by director Nicolas Winding Refn and his collaborators.
It was worth it for me.