REVIEW: DRIVE (2011)

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DRIVE (2011)

Drive has a delightfully 80s vibe to it. It reminds one of Michael Mann’s neon drenched crime thriller Thief, but with the out of nowhere blood-soaked violence of David Lynch. Even Cliff Martinez’s sscore evokes Tangerine Dream, who created Thief’s haunting music, among many other film scores during that era. Like that James Caan headlined flick, Drive is also based on a book and involves a man on the wrong side of the law getting into trouble when trying to do good. Despite what appears to be obvious influences, director Nicolas Winding Refn has created his own work from Hossein Amini’s screenplay based on James Sallis’ book of the same name. Drive may evoke but, it never copies. The story finds a mysterious stunt driver, who moonlights as a getaway car driver, getting into trouble with local mobsters when trying to protect his pretty neighbor from the mistakes of her ex-con husband. It is a moody atmospheric piece with sudden jolts of intense action and bone crunching violence. It also has a top notch cast.

Ryan Gosling superbly plays the man known only as Driver with equal parts mystery, menace and heart. This is a bad dude when provoked, but you have no trouble believing he truly cares for Irene and her son.The supporting cast is also excellent with Carey Mulligan as the sweet young woman who seems to fall for the bad guy every time. Albert Brooks is intense and sleazy as a Jewish mobster, who can be quite vicious when he wants to be. Rounding out the cast is the awesome Ron Perlman as Brook’s crude and temperamental partner and Bryan Cranston as Driver’s mentor, a sad man who just can’t seem to avoid getting involved with the wrong people.

Drive is definitely a film that might befuddle the average movie goer, who were weened on Michael Bay and music videos. It uses it’s sumptuously filmed visual style to create a mood and it’s characters to convey emotions. There is no unnecessary exposition to explain how character’s feel, they show it and Refn let’s us, the viewer, experience it for ourselves without explaining it to us like children. When he needs to, he hits us with action and it serves a purpose to move the story along. When he jolts us with the gruesome violence, it’s an extension of a character’s emotional state. Bad and desperate people do bad and desperate things. Our anit-hero Driver seems to have an inner rage that’s never explained and his character is all the more richer for that added mysterious dark side. Drive is something today’s average movie going audience is rarely exposed to…something called cinema! Highly recommended for those who want more then just a movie.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) hammers!

 

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BARE BONES: A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND (2019)

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A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND (2019)

Sarah (Sarah Bolger from Emelie) is a recently widowed single mother trying desperately to raise her children in a bad neighborhood. One night, low-level drug dealer Tito (Andrew Simpson) forces his way into her home to hide after stealing drugs from local kingpin Leo (Edward Hogg). He wants her to hide the drugs for him in her home to which he will give her a cut of the sales. She reluctantly goes along, till things start to spiral out of control and Sarah must violently confront Tito. Add to that, she is faced with the knowledge that it was Leo who killed her drug dealer husband and he knows where Tito was hiding his stash. How far will Sarah go to protect her two children?

British crime thriller is directed by Abner Pastoll from a script by Ronan Blaney and is completely routine and forgettable if not for a great performance by leading lady Sarah Bolger. There is nothing we haven’t seen before in this United Kingdom set drug/crime thriller and turning it into a revenge flick in the last ten minutes is jarring not clever. Bolger’s performance is the only thing that keeps one interested, as a troubled young mother trying to do what’s right for her kids and sometimes messing that up. The villains are generic street thugs and we get the usual graphic violence once things start to go terribly wrong for Sarah and her reluctant involvement with the local criminal element. Some of her actions were a little hard to swallow, but the actress is so good, we cut her some slack. Hope next time Bolger gets a meaty role she can show her acting skills in a better movie. Generic and forgettable low level crime drama elevated by an actress far better than the material and who gives strong emotional depth to her character.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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