Saturday, September 24, 2011

Drive: Ryan Gosling's Guide to Being a Man Part 2.

If it isn't already obvious to you that Ryan Gosling/Baby Goose is the greatest living human being, take a moment to observe him in his natural habitat.  He's always willing to break up a street fight, before performing in his band, and he just wants to quit acting to make some babies.  And he'll probably take you to Disneyland first, because Disneyland strengthens fertility.  And if you don't click any of those links, just go watch Blue Valentine and attempt to logically explain what Michelle Williams could possibly dislike about him.

Gosling's most recent works only expand on his likability.  Crazy, Stupid, Love was Gosling's first foray into providing manhood instructions for the masses, and I urge you to interpret Drive as an instructional video on how to take care of your gurrl.  You can steal, shoot, and stomp dudes to death, but you better take care of yo' baby.

I wouldn't blame you for thinking that Drive, particularly due to the presence of Brian Cranston, Ron Perlman, and fast cars, might be a fast-paced action film in the vein of The Transporter or Fast and the Furious.  In fact, if that's exactly what you want, you might not even want to see Drive, but if you can move beyond your muscled, bald man fetish, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Drive opens with Ryan Gosling calmly driving a getaway car while listening to a basketball game on the radio.  Baby Goose don't want no high speed shootouts, Baby Goose needs to know the score of the Clippers game.  The opening sets the pace for the rest of the film: a slow build with occasional bursts of violence and synth pop.  Large portions of the film are long takes of the characters while the soundtrack fills in for the dialogue.  Thankfully, this is strangely effecting.  It's the cinematic equivalent of doing stunts in Grand Theft Auto while listening to the opera radio station.  It just feels so good.

The plot revolves around Gosling, who doesn't seem to care about anything but driving.  Then, he meets Carey Mulligan, and starts caring about her too.  But that's it.  Baby Goose keeps it simple.  In trying to help Carey Mulligan and her husband (that's never stopped Baby Goose before), Gosling moves to the top of Ron Perlman's hit list, and as a result has to get all violent and shit.  So there's some longing looks, and some intense violence, more longing looks, and some violence.  And all of it is fantastic.

Also, Ryan Gosling rarely speaks.  That's probably a key factor I should mention.  But as much as I like his low mumble, his silence plays to his character, the silent, mysterious, unfaltering hero he seems to be.

The resulting film feels like True Romance if it had been written and directed by Wong Kar-Wai.  I don't think I've ever compared anything to Wong Kar-Wai (on this blog), and it's certainly something more directors should strive for.  The use of music, the patient camera movements,and the oft-silent characters all seem a little Chungking Express, and of course the comparison to True Romance occurred because Christian Slater knows how to kill dudes for his lady too.  But Christian Slater probably wouldn't spring for Disneyland.


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