Mar 11, 2012


Thesis: Drive is a movie full of style, grit, flash, and well placed sound tracks, which help hide the very lacking plot lines, and the quiet and inconsistent main character.

I just finished watching the movie Drive, and here are the main points that I'd like to cover to discuss the film's literary merit:

a. the 80's them
b. precise visuals and sound
c. inconsistent main character
d. lacking plot

a.  The 80's theme IS very prominent (literature IS alive!).  I'm not sure if it was meant to be an 80's theme, or if it is stating that the 2000's are constructed of similar, shallow elements that have made the 80's so attractive to mass culture.  Regardless, the theme within the film (clothes and music) earned comparisons to Scarface.  Nowhere near comparable to the epic plot line and the in depth character study that Scarface offered, but comparable on the level that the time of which the film is engrossed in is so much a part of the film itself, that it ultimately acts as a tangible character with the film.  Because the retro theme was clearly so relevant and an intentional part of the director's scheme, that this proves to be a very prominent literary element within the film.

b. slow motion visuals perfectly synchronized with majestic scores and sound tracks, demonstrate exactly what Nicholas Winding Refn is trying to create.  The opening scene in the car, while Ryan Goesling's character, who simply goes by the name of "Driver," builds great anxiety for the audience, as one criminal is in the car, while they wait for the other.  The music introduction boars through the scene as driver releases a hammer from the inner sleeve of his shirt as he walks into a dressing room.  But one of the most mystical visuals was the shot gun blast through the bathroom window, causing an instant burst of crimson red through the separating cranium of an unsuspecting being.  The scene was shot in slow motion, presenting the beauty of a sensational explosion of innards for the audience to witness.  These are the elements that Refn offers the audience.  These are the elements that will cause viewers to review and rewind specific scenes.  These are the artistic qualities that Refn implies for his viewers.

c.  One quality that a story needs to have is a reliable character.  Not reliable in the sense that other characters in the film can rely on him/her, but in the sense that the audience can believe the actions, reactions, and logic that the character has displayed.  Drive does not offer this reliability.  Within the first scene, the main character is silent, smooth, and confident.  The audience believes that this character is in complete control of every situation that comes before him, which the main character does justify thoroughly with some kick-ass and grappling performances.  However, there are a few instances where things don't add up.  During the planned heist in the middle of the movie, the father was shot in the head, and fell dead before he could enter the car.  The main character, uncharacteristically, got out of the car, looking confused and unaware, appearing extremely vulnerable.  This inconsistency drastically hinders the film's reliablility and authenticity.  All literature will have reliable characters, characters that the audience can trust and expect to react the way that they have led the audience to beleive that they will react.

The main character's history appears to be completely irrelevent to the director, as nothing is ever presented.  There is not justification for why he wishes to assist the broken family, and aside from the lacking past, the main character is mute.

d. The plot line isn't interesting.  Some money gets taken from a guy who doesn't want it to be taken from him.  The main character's motive is to help a broken family, without any reason.  A well written script would have presented a more dynamic main character, involved with a more enticing and enthralling script.

Literary conclusion:

Drive offers great scenes, wonderful music, and very anxious situations.  It is a good movie, satisfying and enjoyable.  It challenges viewers with shocking moments of inhumanity and excessive violence, without immersing anyone with a short attention span into a twisting and clever plot line.  But without that plot line, it doesn't qualify as a film that could contend with the damning disease of time, as age will slowly dismember its entity.