A Female's View on Drive

November 28, 2011
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Nicolas Winding Refn’s new action thriller Drive is nothing like my girlfriends and I expected it to be. As soon as the movie started we knew we were in for something four college girls would have a hard time enjoying. I knew that Ryan Gosling would be as attractive as ever no matter what, but the lack of romance and graphic violence were the two main aspects that made me wish I hadn’t spent the ten dollars for the ticket.

The movie starts out with the handsome main character, who has no proper name in the film, driving in Los Angeles to help some criminals get away with a robbery. It becomes clear at this point that Ryan Gosling’s character, often called “the kid” or “the driver”, will be quite the bad boy which intrigued me and my friends. We then learn from the following scenes that being the getaway driver is only his side job, and during the day he works as a stunt driver for movies. Knowing this made “the driver” seem much more classy. This class faded very quickly as soon as the first drops of blood splattered on his signature scorpion jacket, which he wears almost the entire time. Not only does he wear it throughout the whole movie, but he never cleans off any of the blood which to me was very unrealistic and irritating. In one scene in particular, he walks into a fancy restaurant wearing the bloody jacket and no one seems to notice. Im sure many of the females in the audience would have rather he just not worn a jacket, let alone a shirt. Fortunately for us females his face remained flawless which helped distract from the strange bloody jacket. What really disappointed me was the fact that Gosling had very little dialogue, and smiled maybe four times throughout the film. I was hoping that we would see his adorable smile more often, but unfortunately his character called for a mostly serious expression. Although I prefer him in less serious roles, it was nice to see how versatile he can be. It would have also been enjoyable if he had some memorable quotes or witty sayings, but “the driver” never mumbles more than a few words in each scene. The lack of dialogue from Gosling’s character made sense in the story, but I still would have loved a bit more lip movement.

Speaking of lip movement, romance was very sparse in this film, adding to it’s very masculine appeal. From the movie’s trailers it seemed as though there would be many steamy scenes between Ryan Gosling’s character and his love interest Irene, played by the beautiful Carey Mulligan. Other than one passionate kiss they share unexpectedly in an elevator, most of their time together is spent staring silently into the other’s eyes. This made for some very awkward, uncomfortable scenes that I wished would just end. An example of this would be one scene when “the driver” is in the car with Irene. It is obvious that they both have very strong feelings towards each other, yet they just stare at each other in silence for the entire drive. Being a hopeless romantic, this had a huge effect on my feelings towards the film. It was very boring the way the director chose to keep their romance so subtle. Understandably the character Irene is a married woman with a child, but her husband has just gotten out of jail and is making her life a living hell. When Gosling’s character steps in to help her and her family it is obvious that she falls deeply in love with him, which I feel should have been clearly expressed. Most likely the director chose to keep the romance down to keep the movie the action thriller that it is.

Thrilling is one way to describe Drive, but I think disturbing is probably a much better word. It’s funny to picture me and my girlfriends all dressed up for a night out, watching a man have his skull crushed to pieces by Ryan Gosling’s foot. This scene, as well as many more, were
so graphic and violent that at times I had to turn my head. I must say though that the special effects were done very well, and they successfully made each bloody murder look just as though one would imagine it to look. For many people, men in particular, this aspect of the movie must have been very entertaining, especially because it was done so well. The sound effects really added to the realistic looking blood and gore, and I often felt the pain those poor victims were feeling. What made the film’s violence so unappealing to me is the fact that it was so prevalent, and it almost seemed as though characters were being killed one after the other. The movie’s trailers gave the impression that there would be more action and less violence, which is why the amount of violence was very surprising. The killing occurred so often because the main conflicts in the film are gang deals gone wrong. It seems as though most of the movie’s dialogue is related to someone demanding money, or not having enough money. Although this was redundant at times, the movie does provide a good look at the danger and tragedy related to gang violence. This did keep me interested at times because gang violence is something that has been an on going problem in society, and the director did a very good job at portraying the effects it has on people’s lives.

Overall Drive is not a terrible movie, but rather a terrible movie for college girls looking for a little entertainment on a girl’s night out. The film Im sure was well liked by the men in the audience, for it was clearly written to entertain the male mind. For us women, Ryan Gosling made the movie bearable to watch with his subtle charm and classic good looks, but the disappointing romance and overly violent scenes made the film hard to enjoy.





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