Silence is not the immediate reaction I had to this movie. I was in shock and awe by the brilliant landscapes and brutal style of the film, but not silenced because of some distaste for this movie. You have to be silent in order to soak this movie in. It’s not often that a movie deals entirely with the image presented in order to tell a story. This movie, in a phrase, is old school. This may as well be a badass silent action film. That’s exactly what I took away from it.
And this is all Nicolas Winding Refn’s intent. After having seen (and reviewed) his other
Does this actor never have a left eye?
film, Drive, I don’t think I can get enough of what this Danish director is bringing to the table. With an archaic and visceral feel to this movie, it plays out in a slow manner, but many of the scenes will stand out to you in your mind way after its all been played out. Same thing goes for Drive too.
If I had to guess how many pages the dialogue took up in this film, I’d probably say a total of 5-6 pages. And that’s all it took to portray the characters onscreen. You know One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) is a hardass who never found his voice and expresses himself
The brutality of the Danish.
in violent outbursts. You even have a young child actor, named The Boy (Maarten Stevenson) who understands the idea of dramatic timing and delivery in this film. And that’s rare in such a adult themed film. Saying less gives so much more, and that’s what this film knew how to do.
Basic plot, everyone?
So, One-Eye (Mikkelsen) is a slave held in Scotland against his will. He is passed from barbaric tribe to barbaric tribe in order to fight and kill for the honor of the tribe that owns him. He is such a good fighter, that he has to be leashed up in order to set him at the same level as other fighters. Sleeping in a cage all night with little food or contact with others, he befriends The Boy (Stevenson), who shows him the only kindness he’ll ever know.
Upon being switched between tribes, One-Eye uses the almost-prophetic visions in red he receives at the beginning of
Refn and the gang!
the film in order to kill and escape. Kidnapping The Boy, he heads off for freedom. But not before he encounters a roving band of Crusaders looking and itching for a Crusade to wage. With One-Eye and The Boy in tow, the Christians take them on a boat ride to Hell, and eventually the new world.
As I said earlier, the locales are what impressed me most about this movie. Being shot in Scotland, I had little basis for what it actually looked like in a real context, and so this movie works on all levels for Scotland and America. The absence of human life really works well to isolate the feeling of the film, heightening the chances of death and lack of social norms in a clearly barbaric society. No one is safe in this
It doesn’t get more unsettling than this.
film, and it almost makes you feel uncomfortable when people turn on each other for survival.
Mikkelsen, that one-eyed badass from Casino Royale, is just as good in this movie as well. The cast is relatively unknown to me, which really works for this movie. Because who would be recognizable way back in 1000 A.D.? I just wanna give a lot of credit to the special effects and
make-up people as well in this movie, because I’ve never seen a more realistic head bashing than in this movie. Visually brutal to the point where your eyes bleed. Hardcore shizz.
The overall delivery was right up my alley. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for an artistically brutal and human psyche revealing film. It’ll make people uncomfortable, but it’ll be an unforgettable experience in the end. No real complaints, 8.9 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 1000 AD, absence of human life, adult themed film, America, archaic, badass silent film, barbaric society, barbaric tribes, brilliant landscapes, brutal style, Casino Royale, Christians, Crusaders, Danish director, death, delivery, discomforting, dramatic timing, Drive, eyes bleeding, fight and kill, Hell, human psyche, image to tell a story, isolated, kidnap, little to no dialogue, locales, Maarten Stevenson, Mads Mikkelsen, make-up crew, new world, Nicolas Winding Refn, no one is safe, old school, One-Eye, prophetic and disturbing visions, realistic violence, Red, saying less is more, Scotland, shock and awe, silence, silent, slave, slow play, soak it in, special effects, standout, The Boy, unforgettable experience, unknown cast, Valhalla Rising, violent outbursts, visceral feel, visually brutal, young child actor | posted in Movies
I had heard good things about Drive from my film major friends in college before I found this on Netflix. I was hesitant at first, (most kids at my college in the film department have very particular ideas of what good films are. I like what is considered not so good of a film.) but gave it a shot. My girlfriend fell asleep about 20 minutes in (she was tired from work) but I sat up enraptured in what unfolded before me in this film. In a whole new way, Nicolas Winding Refn created a film you wouldn’t normally see ever.
So there’s Ryan Gosling playing The Driver, a quiet and modest stunt driver who has grown up in L.A. on cars. (This is based on James Sallis’ novel, Drive.) Securing Hollywood stunt driver jobs through his friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston of Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad), we see a film about Hollywood within L.A.’s
A reserved driver with pimpin gloves.
Hollywood. Directed by a Danish director, we gain this insight from a foreigner’s perspective in a unique way of directing and cinematography. But, more importantly, this film has got some major production value on it with all the researching and immersed creation that came with it between Refn and Gosling. I was impressed.
A tragically beautiful mother.
So The Driver meets Irene (Carey Mulligan) a tragic and beautiful single mother with a husband in jail. They have a solemn and quiet love affair (no sex or anything like that, Refn didn’t want to waste film time on showing anything related to love… I think…) the two connect. The Driver wants to protect Irene and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). And then her husband Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac) comes back. Getting involved with the wrong people, gangsters on all sides, The Driver has to navigate a world he’s only seen in the movies. And, being a stunt actor in a movie, he’s prepared to make the leap. With a car.
I really liked all the characters in this movie. Plain and simple. I loved Oscar Isaac’s small role in the film. He comes off as this dangerous and irritated character that has a sneaking suspicion at all times. (He reminded me of his twisted
Gotta love Oscar Isaac.
performance in Sucker Punch.) Bryan Cranston played a great broken man in this film who’s trying to look out for others but becomes collateral damage. Ron Perlman was finally given a chance to do a spectacular movie that gave him great lines and a menacing character in this one as well. Looks like Hellboy’s becoming more devilish… And
All of the violence.
one of the standout performances, other than Ryan Gosling, comes from Albert Brooks, voice of Nemo’s dad in Finding Nemo. To hear that voice on such a wicked character was chilling.
But there were a lot of interesting elements in the creation of this movie. The script is about 80 pages, but most of it must have been camera direction and actions, because I would say there’s less than 5 to 10 typed pages of dialogue in the whole film. Ryan Gosling plays such a reserved and quiet character that he never really needs to speak, only act (just like a hired driver would). The first sequence in the film when Gosling is driving the two robbers to their destination was well planned out and quite poetic in its feel and delivery. No dialogue, no need for speech, only action.
Without much dialogue, the film had this feel of tension throughout. You feel tension in the relationships, in the way the business is conducted. And then you get the gunshots. Every once in a while in the film the action builds to this ridiculously tense crescendo where something has to happen. Almost like a jumpy
scene in a horror movie. And wow, after that first gunshot in the movie, this film really pops off (pun intended). But then it returns to a tension filled lull (still not much dialogue) and you’re just waiting for the next powder keg laden with the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s agonizing at the same time that it’s so damn interesting!
You get great performances with a great premise delivered more with action than with speech. It’s a unique style you never really see, and I’m glad this did well at film festivals. This reminds me, and I don’t know why, but it makes me wanna watch Refn’s other work, most notably Val Halla Rising, which is now on Netflix. Next review here I come! But Drive is a wonderful film. Superb in all its unusual aspects. 9.5 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 80 page script, action builds, actions speak louder than words, agonizing, Albert Brooks, Benicio, Breaking Bad, broken man, Bryan Cranston, camera direction and action, Carey Mulligan, cars, collateral damage, college, dangerous and irritated, Danish director, Drive, enrapturing film, feelings of tension throughout, film festivals, film majors, Finding Nemo, foreigner's perspective, gangsters, great character development, great cinematography, great premise, gunshots, heard good things, Hellboy, hired driver, Holllywood, horror movie style, husband, immersed creation, interesting elements, Irene, jail, James Sallis' novel Drive, jumpy scene, Kaden Leos, LA, major production value, Malcolm in the Middle, menacing character, Netflix, new and interesting filmmaking, Nicolas Winding Refn, no sex shown, not much dialogue, Oscar Isaac, poetic feel, powder keg, quiet and modest, quiet love affair, research, robbery, Ron Perlman, Ryan Gosling, Shannon, single mother, sneaking suspicion, so damn interesting, son, Standard Gabriel, standout performances, stunt driver, Sucker Punch, superb film, tense crescendo, The Driver, tragic and beautiful, unique style, unusual style, Val Halla Rising, voice of Nemo's Dad | posted in Movies