Movie You Should Watch: ‘Drive’

Ryan Gosling (aka the guy who should have been People's Sexiest Man Alive) in the movie, "Drive." Photo: Beyond Hollywood

If Drive doesn’t rake in nominations come awards season, then they’re all just deaf and blind.

It deserves Best Picture and Best Director nods.

Based on the James Sallis’ novel of the same name, the thriller (“Pretty in Pink with head smashing”) centers on Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine), a mechanic, movie stuntman, and getaway driver all in one. Things get complicated when a heist goes wrong.

There’s a great balance between the action (which, be forewarned, gets bloody) and the love story. When he’s not in the middle of a car chase, Gosling falls for his neighbor, Carey Mulligan (An Education).

“The idea behind the romance is that it’s very innocent,” explains Mulligan. “We looked at their relationship like a fairytale: she was a damsel-in-distress and he was the knight in shining armor.”

Of the director, Nicolas Winding Refn, she says:

“I had seen Bronson when it came out because I love Tom Hardy so much and just thought it was the most incredible film. And then, I watched the Pusher trilogy because it was Nicolas. And then, last summer, I watched Valhalla Rising and emailed my agent and said, ‘I just want to work with someone like Winding Refn. I want to work with anyone who makes films like he does.’ And he emailed me back and said, ‘Well, he’s making a film.’ But, the character was originally written for a slightly older Latina woman, so my agent said, ‘We’ll get you a meeting and just see what happens.'”

Refn is scheduled to work with Mulligan again on I Walk With the Dead and Gosling on Only God Forgives and possibly, a remake of Logan’s Run.

Hear what Gosling has to say about the director:

Not to mention, its stars also deserve acting nods.

Gosling is one of the film’s better chances of winning awards. He switches from a reserved, good guy to a hard ass later in the second half. He also plays up the chemistry—and longing looks—with Mulligan, and he manages to sneak in a few light, comedic moments.

He appears on several critics’ shortlists, but his chances are split between his performance in Drive and another picture, The Ides of March. And to think Neil Marshall and Hugh Jackman were the original director and actor attached to Drive.

Oscar buzz also surrounds Gosling’s co-star, Albert Brooks (Muse and Finding Nemo) for Best Supporting Actor. Even though everyone else is terrific (Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, and Ron Perlman), unfortunately, their roles may be too small to grab the voters’ attention.

Last but not least, its music deserves to be shortlisted—at the very least.

Drive has an amazing soundtrack, which I would probably describe as techno or new wave music. If you’re like me, it’s better to be late to the party. The CD is already at the top of the charts.

Aside from the score of Cliff Martinez, the former drummer of Red Hot Chili Peppers, the songs in the movie are Tick of the Clock by The Chromatics, Oh My Love by Riz Ortolani feat. Katyna Ranieri, Nightcall by Kavinsky feat. Lovefoxxx, and my two faves, Under Your Spell by Desire (below), and A Real Hero by College feat. Electric Youth.

“The song that basically explains the movie is the College song (“A Real Hero”), because that, just by [coincidence], had a lyric that also described my idea for the movie. To me it was the story about a character, the protagonist, who lived in two worlds. By day he was a human being and by night he was a hero,” says Refn, adding, “He’s more half machine, half man. And those two worlds conflict because he doesn’t know how to transform himself into one or the other until he realizes that he has to blend himself into becoming a superhero, which he was always meant to be.”

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