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Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Drive

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Winding Refn is an interesting director, I can't say I've enjoyed every film he has made but they've always been memorable at the very least. His latest film has just played at Cannes and early buzz seems to be pretty positive (with some comparing it to Michael Mann's Thief).

drive.jpg?w=450&h=639

Synopsis: A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.

The film has a great cast including the aforementioned leads, Gosling and Mulligan as well as Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks and Ron Perlman.

There isn't a trailer yet but a couple of clips have been released (note: although the YT video says trailer it really isn't):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ-1PtveVGw

The clips don't really give anything away but they are shot nicely and have great music which always bodes well.

Cannes early buzz

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Just seen this on /film. They reckon it's one of the best received films of the festival so far, along with The Artist and We've Got to Talk About Kevin. Looks good!

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I read the book (Drive by James Sallis) this is based on years ago and I really liked it. It reminded me a lot of the Walter Hill film Driver – in both we don’t know the name of the main driver character.

This looks pretty decent but Ryan Gosling is one of those actors whose popularity I don’t understand.

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If there are any East London dwellers, we (that's Little White Lies, the mag I work for) are co-hosting a screening of Drive on September 6 at the Classic Car club on Old Street. It's with Dr Martens. I think you can apply for tickets through their site, and we'll be giving a few away.

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Out here this weekend. Torn between seeing it in the cinema, where jarring edits are common, or waiting for the DVD. Not bothered by missing a bit of skin, it's just the cuts often are as tidy as Edward Scissorhands stroking a kitten and mess up the rhythm of a film. Either way, it looks bloody great. Scoring 77/100 on Metacritic too.

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Out here this weekend. Torn between seeing it in the cinema, where jarring edits are common, or waiting for the DVD. Not bothered by missing a bit of skin, it's just the cuts often are as tidy as Edward Scissorhands stroking a kitten and mess up the rhythm of a film. Either way, it looks bloody great. Scoring 77/100 on Metacritic too.

You're in luck if you're in the UK - it was passed with no cuts made:

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/AFF281761/

In fact, it's extremely rare for cuts to be made these days.

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I was at the event at the Classic Car Club in Old Street last week to see this and enjoyed it a lot.

Its massively moody and oozes cool, especially during the first scene and many of the subsequent ones with Ryan Gosling as the lead character with a pretty dark (and violent) side. Also boasts a quality soundtrack and some excellent stunt driving :)

My only real criticism would be that the director seems to use the long, slow lingering shot a bit too often and as a result I sometimes just wanted him to get the hell on with it.

Still, definitely recommended. Go see it :)

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Saw the first half of the trailer before Troll Hunter and thought, "Meh, this looks terrible". Saw the second half of the trailer and immediately thought, "WTF, this looks brilliant!".

So, I'll be off seeing it.

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The director just said fucking on BBC Morning News and didn't seem at all bothered while they were trying to apologise on his behalf. It was amusing but he seems like a complete ball bag.

Film looks great, mind.

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I saw this just now, and it is absolutely brilliant; one of the best films I've seen in absolutely ages. Beautifully shot, with lovely long takes and long, pregnant pauses in scenes - whole sections are almost dialogue-free, with meaningful glances and long, lingering silences interspersed with gorgeous shots of LA.

It reminded me a lot of Steven Soderbergh in general, and The Limey specifically - the Cliff Martinez score, the LA setting, and the sparse, almost cold feel to the film (along with

a late scene on a beach in the middle of night, that's very similar to a scene in The Limey; plus a sequence with a cut-up chronology that's very reminiscent of that film

). Drive goes in a very different, much bleaker direction, though - it takes the little sub-genre of existentialist crime movie (The Limey, Thief, The Driver) and pushes it into outright nihilism.

About the only downsides were a plot that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, which doesn't really matter that much in the grand scheme of things - it's a mood and character piece, the plot is subordinate to the story. And the soundtrack, while brilliant, has some song lyrics that are occasionally a bit too on the nose. Apart from that, it's absolutely stunning. One of my new favourite films.

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This sounds amazing, but is it really brutal? The older I get the less I can take that kind of thing at the cinema. Given that Refn's previous film was Valhalla Rising I'm a bit concerned.

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There's not much violence, but what there is is quite nastily portrayed - which is correct for the film, as it means the violence is scary and repellent, but might turn a few stomachs. It doesn't linger, but there were some sharp intakes of breath in the cinema.

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Agree with everything K says about it, it's all about the atmosphere - almost dreamlike. I loved the long takes and Gosling's character's near-silence, I didn't find it slow at all personally. The violence was used how films should; short and sharp - it's nasty and shocking as real violence is, Animal Kingdom was similar and all the better for it. There were a couple of walkouts in my screening as the film progressed though but there's nothing too beyond the pale for a modern 18.

Will have trouble at the end of the year deciding between this, Animal Kingdom and The Tree of Life as my film of the year. Wonderful.

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Absolutely loved this. Beautifully atmospheric and I think cult classic status beckons. Ryan Gosling's performance is wonderfully minimalistic in his use of dialogue.

I didn't feel the violence was any worse than many other films, but probably the more impactful because it's not some dumb actioner. Not graphically any worse that in something like Game of Thrones on TV though.

Oh, and this Youtube comment on one of the soundtrack songs made me :lol:...

i bought a scorpion jacket and pretended to be ryan gosling last might driving in my car. i put my car into the ditch and wrecked the front end of my ride. plus i had to take a shit walking home,so i used the scorpion jacket. im not gonna pretend anymore,i just get hurt
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Whoa saw this yesterday and it's fantastic the atmosphere is so cool i had only watched a scene from the movie a couple of months ago. Even avoiding the official trailer so it had more impact when i finally saw it.

That scene where he goes to hunt down Nino :D

Ryan Gosling was ace as usual,little dialogue but when he speaks you know he means it. His character switches are superb i think some people in the audience were not expecting it to be that violent but it made sense and Gosling was actually scary when he got down to business.

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Holy crap, this is my first really enjoyable film of 2011. Beautiful direction and cinematography and along with the soundtrack it's ridiculously cool. Even the pink text and that typography in the opening credits :wub: Such a refreshing, polished and dark film. It's the first film I've seen of Gosling, curious to watch others now just to appreaciate what he's doing here.

Loved it.

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I liked this. But, unlike some, I don't think it's amazing. There's no real depth, and as a result, the combination of the soundtrack, some of the visuals and even the font make it seem, ever so slightly, "style over substance". It's a bit like watching a classy film version of GTA: Vice City. But, if that sounds in any way appealing, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

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I liked this. But, unlike some, I don't think it's amazing. There's no real depth, and as a result, the combination of the soundtrack, some of the visuals and even the font make it seem, ever so slightly, "style over substance". It's a bit like watching a classy film version of GTA: Vice City. But, if that sounds in any way appealing, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

I agree the film starts off with a very glossy, superficial coolness to it, but I think this sheen has a purpose behind it.

I thought the way that the film suckered you in with this very detached, aloof, ice-cold main character was clever, in that you initially think that he’s a pretty fucking money guy, and then gradually get more and more unnerved and repulsed by the fact that the coolness is a symptom of him basically being a total psychopath.

The shallowness and superficial slickness of the film mirrors the sociopathic charisma of the main character. I realise that sounds madly pretentious, but I think that is one of the points of the film – to subvert the stereotype of the ice-cold professional criminal, and to show that someone who does this sort of thing for a living is by definition going to be a pretty abnormal kind of person. The film’s basically taking us all the way to the scary bottom of that abnormality.

The use of the Vice City-style font might be part of that, in that it might represent a kind of empty, shallow glamour that the film is trying to capture. Then again, the director might just like the font.

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Found this nice article about the opening in Drive

I really liked ‘Drive.’ If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to get embroiled in a rambling conversation about ’80s thrillers with me, then you’ll know that — as a child of the indy video store era — I love that genre. Title screens flash with neon, character actors crack skulls, fake blood is in abundance and when the films are at their best, there’s an inherent taint of sleaze. You can clean up the audio and video all you like, taking it to Blu-ray quality, but that sleaze is too tough to shift. ‘Drive’ is Nicolas Winding Refn’s tribute to that era and he gets it pitch perfect, while shaving off the crappier aspect, so those vintage Clubmasters of yours stay tinted. The urgency of Refn’s ‘Pusher’ trilogy seemed at odds with the cinematic rebirth of his often-ponderous ‘Valhalla Rising’ but here the deliberate pace is pitched perfect, indicating that he’s that he’s opted to (Michael) Mann up.

driveopeningcredits.jpg?w=500&h=273

goslingdrive.jpg?w=500&h=272

If we’re going to filter down my favourite ’80s thrillers, I favour films like 1980′s ‘American Gigolo’ and 1981′s ‘Thief’ (cited by Refn as an influence on ‘Drive’), where occupations clash and situations engulf the protagonists. Michael Mann’s ‘Thief’ with its stylised LA reveals a heart of darkness in James Caan’s diner conversation with Tuesday Weld, discussing a “not-give-a-fuck” mindstate that’s explosively manifested towards the film’s conclusion. It’s an amazing scene that’s out-darkened by the burst of bile from mob bawse Leo later on, but it’s a classic film. James Caan’s Ric Flair style approach to wooing is also incredible, “I wear $150 slacks, I wear silk shirts, I wear $800 suits, I wear a gold watch, I wear a perfect, D-flawless three carat ring. I change cars like other guys change their fucking shoes. I’m a thief. I’ve been in prison, all right?” On that tailored note, both ‘American Gigolo’s Julian and ‘Thief’s Frank are both kitted out for the screen by Giorgio Armani.

‘Drive’s descent into nihilism echoes elements of ‘Thief’ but there’s a sense that — had Refn had the opportunity — Michael Mann favourites Tangerine Dream would’ve scored it. The German ambience turned up to shattering levels underpinned some classics. Alongside ‘Thief’ they also contributed music to 1983′s ‘Risky Business’ to match Giorgio Moroder’s ‘American Gigolo’ work and 1977′s massively underrated William Friedkin ego-led mercenary masterpiece, ‘Sorcerer’ — Friedkin’s hard-boiled classic with extra hair gel, 1985′s ‘To Live and Die in LA’ is cited as another of Refn’s reference points, and while it lacks Tangerine Dream, it got Wang Chung on the score.

But that pink script that makes up the opening credits of ‘Drive’ is pretty compelling too. What’s the lineage of that? Pick a film from between 1980 and 1985 and you’re liable to find a reference point. The colour evokes ‘Risky Business’s opening titles, but it’s even more evocative of the lettering of the film’s poster. The scrawled ‘Sorcerer,’ ‘Thief’s script and minimal font for the leads (prior to the realistic 9-minute safe cracking sequence that sets off the film`), ‘American Gigolo’s appropriately fancy way with the letters and the fluorescent blocks of ‘To Live and Die in LA’ against a sunny backdrop may have played a part too.

Provided you can wear your reference points on your scorpion jacket sleeve without descending into a mosaic of homages, there’s no shame in taking it back to the VHS era’s most overlooked neon-noirs and ‘Drive’ pulls that off perfectly.

americangigolo.jpg?w=500&h=293

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it_N30ThtvA

thief1.jpg?w=500&h=297

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aRNdgiq1ZU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8s42fbKjtM

link

There is something so eternally cool about 80's opening sequences.

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Everyone go see this, absolutely excellent.

the coolness is a symptom of him basically being a total psychopath.

The shallowness and superficial slickness of the film mirrors the sociopathic charisma of the main character.

See, I didn't read him as being a psychopath or sociopath at all, he never even took a gun on the heists he did. Only time he started killing people was in order to protect Irene and Benicio. He gave Nino every opportunity to prevent any further deaths and didn't even kill 'Cook' when he wanted to.

Nope, I just saw him as a guy forced into violence because he was dealing with psycho/sociopaths. In the end he even (most likely) got himself killed as he was the only living person linking Irene to those involved in the robbery. Selfless, and a real hero.

Oh and...

I loved the way there was no sex scene between Irene and 'the Driver' (just realised we never hear his name). The looks they give each other and the way she puts her hand on his in the car are just perfect. Did they even ever have sex? Looked to me like the only time they ever even kissed was in the lift, when he realises he's going to have to kill the mobster to save them, so taking the last chance he'll ever have before Irene sees him do something so repugnant she'll probably want nothing to do with him ever.

Best soundtrack I've heard in a long while too.

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