The OST artwork is probably the best thing about this film.
Not memorable. And considering it contains Morgan Freeman and it is me saying this, that says a lot. Put it this way, I watched this film about a week ago and I can’t even remember how it ends. I remember finding Forrest Whitaker’s character annoying, and thinking that he looked a lot like a huge bumblebee with that fuzzy beard; I remember thinking that Morgan can do much better than this; I remember thinking that Lance Henriksen was rather reptilian… Oh and I thought, ‘Mickey Rourke is big’. Not in a metaphorical or transcendental sense, just in the ‘he is quite tall’ sense. This is, of course, rather a bizarre thing to remember, as just having looked it up, he is only 5’ 11”. Anyway, Walter Hill has made much better films than this. See them instead.
Drive is very good - if not quite 5 star. First and foremost, it is a very controlled film. Refn has created something new and different. because most directors - given that storyline and script - would have made it into a mindless, run-of-the-mill testosterone action vengeance movie, with car chases and explosions galore. Something akin to The Fast and the Furious. How grateful am I that this not that. Not even close. Instead what Refn has done is make a film that is as much a work of art as it is entertainment. It is neither ‘Hollywood Blockbuster’, but neither is it your typical ‘Independent Indie Art-House’ fare. It flirts with both genres and becomes an interesting hybrid. The scene in the elevator is perhaps the best example of this. The tenderness shared between Driver and Irene, in the midst of danger, is poignant and the slow motion, combined with the soft, warm lighting gives the moment a very emotional yet vulnerable quality to it. And then our eponymous hero collapses a man’s skull with his boot in a moment of stark and almost unrivalled brutality. The tenderness juxtaposes extremely effectively with this hard core violence. The savagery is all the more repugnant because of the moments of tenderness throughout. Life is not a fairy tale romance it seems to say.
I really enjoyed both the camera work (smooth, steady and capturing discreet glimpses into their lives) and the 80s retro soundtrack. The acting was also controlled - and Gosling has a very interesting future.
A bleak film, but a very engaging one. I immediately saw the influence this film had on Quentin Tarantino and Tony Scott, it being an obvious inspiration for True Romance in terms of narration (Patricia Arquette even sounds just like Sissy Spacek) and the fantastic atmospheric xylophone based score that pervades both films. The stark Colorado backdrop lends itself perfectly to the journey of the characters and seems to mirror their almost desolate sense of being. Martin Sheen was perfectly cast as Kit: taciturn yet charming, reckless yet controlled, cool yet a killer. It is Spacek’s apathy to the killings – particularly of her father – that is chillingly disturbing as she too puts in an excellent performance. Written, directed and produced by Terence Malick, this is a very impressive debut suggesting a very promising career to come, but one that I can’t help but feel has gone unfulfilled, him having only released 4 films since this in 1973.
Another great Hitchcock film. But then, aren’t they all? This is perhaps a little more predictable than some of his other thrillers (I picked the ending half way through), but there is much to appreciate here… The setting in the south of France just makes me want to go and holiday there right now, his sweeping panoramic shots over the crystal clear waters with the rustic countryside roofs below are mouth-watering. No wonder it won an Oscar for cinematography (it’s a surprise that Edith Head didn’t win the Oscar for best costume (colour), with the amount of stunning dresses on show here – and that doesn’t normally interest me at all). Also wonderful is the timeless chemistry between the always great Cary Grant and the mesmerising Grace Kelly – they must rank here as one of the best on-screen couples with their flirtatious banter (some of which was improvised). One protest: why is all the French dialogue not subtitled? I want to know what is going on in these scenes and feel I am missing out. Interesting that Grant slaps a woman here too (as well as in Notorious ) and manages to do so with an air of deserving style. In fear of sounding exceedingly misogynistic I don’t want to dwell on it, but I did secretly cheer when he delivered the blow as it was well warranted and came as a surprise. I smiled too when he wanted to slap the French elderly flower vendor when being chased by the police in the market, but he gallantly thought twice and resigned himself to being arrested instead. Some good subtle humour from Hitchcock in amongst the flirting and chasing.
In Season 9, The Simpsons memorably sing a ditty Those were the Days which features the wonderfully reminiscent line “When Michael Jackson still was black… Those were the daaaays!” Very much along the same lines, I can’t help but hum to myself “When the Coen’s were still good”. I think back to their stream of classic indie hits: Raising Arizona; Miller’s Crossing; The Big Lebowski; O Brother Where Art Thou?; and of course, Fargo, all of which are belters and timelessly rewatchable. I wish I could say the same for what they have churned out in the past decade. Films that may have received more critical acclaim, but are significantly inferior to their earlier work. Fargo is magnificent. From its bleak, desolate yet beautiful exteriors, dark and edgy characters, creepy and intriguing plot, to its pitch perfect performances from the whole cast – does anyone do ‘sad pathetic loser’ better than William H Macy? (maybe Philip Seymore Hoffman. Maybe.) This is a film worth watching and rewatching. I can’t help but think that with their more commercial success these days, the Coens would do well to remember Marge Gunderson’s précis of the Brainerd crimes, “And for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know.”
Another lonely voice on the internet.