UAC film: “Drive”

Story by Alex Zank, Chief Copy Editor

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It was an accident that I watched “Drive” in the first place. But as the late, great Bob Ross was once said, we never have mistakes; we just have happy accidents. This is one of those instances.

This film is easily the best being played at this semester’s UAC film series, and for good reason.

Just by watching the first five minutes, the well-crafted cinematography painstaking detail to set design can be appreciated.

When the Driver (Ryan Gosling) walks into the shop to pick up an inconspicuous silver Impala, the camera pans with the characters walking through the shop. In the foreground are the cars and in the background there is anything you’d expect to see in an auto body shop. And all the while they are walking under the overhead lights, which is the main source of lighting in the scene.

This attention to detail is one of those things that you don’t necessarily notice in a movie, but if this detail is there, it separates a great movie from standard one regardless of the genre. And with all of the other stuff to look at in this scene, the lighting manages to pull you in to the main action – the characters walking at a medium-long shot distance.

In summary, everything is so well executed that it makes for great cinema, and every time I see sequences like this, it reminds me of why I love films.

And this all happens before the first five minutes are over. Imagine how good the movie is the rest of the time.

There are so many good things about this film. The acting is great: Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks put on great performances. It’s hard at first to picture the voice of Marlin from “Finding Nemo” as a mobster (which brings a new dimension to the phrase “sleeping with the fishes”), but Brooks pulls off the role so well.

The camerawork is phenomenal. The major car chase scene is nearly flawless. I usually get bored while watching any kind of car chases since the shots are so jumpy and infrequent, but this minimalist scene takes its time to show more detail and makes you feel more involved with it all.

What really makes this movie stand out for me are the audio components. The sound editing is legendary – skull crushing has never sounded so squishy or intense – and the soundtrack is a perfect fit for the movie’s tone.

The dialogue is something magnificent as well. The best part about it, surprisingly, is the absence of the Driver’s dialogue. The movie lets the other characters do a lot of the talking, which allows Gosling to just stand there most of the time looking emotionless, building on the mysteriousness of the character. But when he does talk, he’s definitely got something to say.

For example: in the scene described earlier, the entire time the Driver and his boss Shannon (Bryan Cranston) are walking through the shop, his boss talks the entire time, and even asks Gosling a few questions consecutively. He manages to answer them himself, though. This is the earliest point in the movie where I realized Gosling would score high on the badassery meter because of the dialogue.

There wasn’t much to complain about in this movie. In fact, I can’t think of anything at all. I believe that there is no perfect movie, but “Drive” is one of those movies that gets really close to it.

This weekend, drive on over to the Woodland theater in Davies and appreciate this great film. Don’t make the mistake I almost made of not watching it.

Rating:
FIVE STARS!

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