My process paper and bibliography are right here.
My process paper and bibliography are right here.
Drive isn't your typical "cops and robbers" film. The film bases its story around a guy and his car. Ryan Gosling is the driver for a getaway car which is evident in the opening scene. The opening sequence (the first 10 mins of the movie) gives you a first hand view on what it's like to be in "The Driver's" world. Showing close inside shots from the vehicle and no dialogue, you are on the edge of your seat while Gosling goes through obstacles to get away from the police.
The opening sequence is a very important part of the film. Little to no dialogue shows exactly what kind of person The Driver is. It's clear that he has done this before based on the silence and calmness he creates. This scene gives us a view of Gosling's character without directly telling us who and what he does. Throughout the movie, Gosling's character is referred to "The Driver" showing his separation from the real world.
Even though the opening scene portrays The Driver as a badass, of course the film creates some sort of love interest for this character. The Driver is asked to be the getaway driver for his neighbor who needs to pay back someone money, which he steals. In this important scene, the neighbor, Oscar Issac, conveniently gets killed during the robbery and conveniently leaves behind a wife. Of course this gives Gosling's character a chance to build a relationship with this woman. What kind of movie would it be if there wasn't a love story involved, especially one where she's in danger?
The lighting in this movie was always dark and colors were bland and solid, giving you the felling of lack of liveliness and of course, danger. The Driver lives a dangerous life, which gets even more dangerous when he becomes on the bad side of the mob. Gosling's character spends the second half of the movie defending himself from the mob and of course protecting Irene's life, even if it means ruining their relationship from stomping a man's head off in an elevator.
As the film's main storyline got more dramatic through the second half, so did the music. One particular scene where the musical score fit well was when Gosling goes to meet with the mob but ends up killing one of the members. As Gosling approaches the restaurant, which the gangsters own, a soft kind of creepy musical number plays while a woman softly sings. It gives you the vibe that something bad is going to happen, but without giving away how intense the next scene is.
The overall story of Drive was a good one; a man, his car and danger. However, the love story was typical and unoriginal if I may say. Gosling's character made no character development and the "love story" seemed to just be there to catch the attention of a more diverse audience.
Imagine taking the odd mystery and dark filming tone of "Fight Club" and combining it with the fast pace action and dynamic characters of "Transporter", Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" is the outcome. Given the two films' reputation, one could infer that a similar combination of the two could result in an action packed, jaw dropping film, which "Drive" certainly provided; but one could also expect an original storyline and in depth characterization within the plot of the film, which it significantly lacked.
Ryan Gosling's "driver" or "the kid" or whoever his name really was, was an over-exaggerated an uncomfortably sporadic character. The opening scene set up what appeared to be a thrilling scene with a getaway driver who was skilled at what he was doing, but slowly faded into a boring conclusion as driver casually parked a car in a packed sports complex and walked out suspiciously, but with no confrontation from the police.
The one piece of positive feedback I will provide for this opening is the use of music and rhythm. The camera angles were very close up but often focused on the background of the shot as the police helicopter searched for the suspects. The synchronization of the final seconds of the basketball game complimented the urgency of driver to get away from the cops. However, the only table setting that this scene was successful for, was introducing the lack of good dialogue and dull characterization of the protagonist.
In addition, there was a huge overuse of gore in this film. I'm sure that all action movie watchers enjoy seeing some nauseating murder scenes or destructive montages, but there was absolutely no build up to the action in this film. As a viewer, it was difficult for me to appreciate the girl getting her head blown off or Driver's graphic stomping of the guy's face in the elevator, when there was no set up in the dialogue. The elevator scene could have easily shifted this movie from a forgotten piece of cinema to a work of art, if there were some compelling dialogue prior to it, or at least some deeper description of driver's character. Imagine trying to bring this scene up in a conversation to a friend 20 years from now:
"Hey, remember that bloody scene in the elevator… with that driver kid… yea I don't know his name, and there was no dialogue in the scene for me to jot your memory… oh well".
Cinematically this was a great movie, and a compelling scene. But the writing was horrible. The subplots were non suspensful. The characters had no depth, and worst of all, the protagonist didn't have a name. If your a future film maker, and are looking for examples of character development, plot structure, and diverse scene elements, "Drive" will successfully set you up for failure.
With the the sources and tools available, I believed that the greatest way of presenting this to an audience was using a documentary. I believe that not only will it allow me to utilize my sources, but also providing an interesting parallel to television itself, as the art form of documentaries, just like television, is a visual medium. The greatest challenge was creating a piece that not only did justice to the original work, but was also not a mere republication of the original work either. It was very important to me that this documentary was a cinematic adaption of the original paper, and not simply the original paper in visual form.
If you would like to see my process paper in full, as well as my annotated bibliography, click here.