Monday, February 27, 2012

Beautiful Cinema and DRIVE

I finally had the chance to see DRIVE over the weekend. Originally I wanted to see it in the theater but I'm not much of a movie-goer anymore. I have faith in Ryan Gosling in a 'serious role' and feel as a homegrown Angelino I have to check out a movie all about my home. Trying to coordinate a movie screening in my household is nearly impossible so I put the movie on alone around 12:30am Friday eve (Sat really) while it was all quiet all over the city. The result is easily one of the best films I've seen in years.

At points in my life, out of nowhere, a movie has struck a chord that resonates and sends me deep into thought. Like an amazing album or a great book, it can change perspective on how I view things. Looking back, I also find it interesting that I usually see these movies in the wee hours of the evening in solitude. My favorite part of many days is when it's late, dark and quiet and it's just me and my thoughts. Don't get me wrong though, I talk too much and love the company of others, but 'my time' has always been when the rest of the world sleeps. I remember being a rambunctious teen and seeing 'Fight Club' and being mesmerized. Arguably my favorite movie of all time (certainly horror movie), the original Dawn Of The Dead, I saw on IFC at around 2am while in middle school. It was polarizing, it was frightening, and it scared the shit out of me for years to come. Another key piece to this puzzle is all these movies have great music. Closing 'Fight Club' with The Pixes "Where Is My Mind?" was beautiful and perfect. 'Dawn of the Dead's simple oddball 70's electronic sounds defined eerie. Music can compliment anything exquisitely and a good movie will always do that.

Enter DRIVE. I absolutely loved the cinematography, the music, the acting, and the storyline. Driver doesn't waste words and Carey Mulligan perfectly portrays a wounded sorta-single mom. Your mob villains are believable as are the sorry petty criminals. The execution of each scene makes the story very believable and the only plot hole I can dwell on are "what are detectives doing with all these killings?" So you have a great story that would be fine on it's own so how do you compliment it? Cinematography and music of course. The shots in the movie are very well executed and the driving scenes are great. It's hard to make driving in Los Angeles romantic but luckily homeboy doesn't hit any traffic. The lack of dialogue in scenes between Driver and Irene make the actors act through their locked eyes which always tells a story. Blossoming love is all about a feeling which may come from dialogue but at times can be beautifully unspoken. Long shots and slow motion are used perfectly, especially when complimented by a stellar soundtrack. Cliff Martinez's (ex-RHCP) subtle score lends to the picture but the true beauty comes from great retro laced nu-disco tracks from Desire, Kavinsky, and College. The songs play in their entirety for the most part which shows the respect for the songs but also helps stylize the movie. I love when I'm introduced to great music in a movie but in this case I wasn't. I'm quite familiar with these artists and never could I envision such a great use of their songs. It is simply beautiful and resonates well past the end credits.

Any movie that blends a solid story and acting with great cinematography and exquisite music is sure to send me into days of thought and hopes for more. DRIVE is that movie for me. Stay up late, relax yourself, put in the movie and enjoy.