Now Playing: Drive

This is one of those films whose scenes are so well set-up that dialogue seems superfluous. You can almost feel that slightly damp heat of Los Angeles and smell the stale cups of coffee and the grease in the auto shop where the The Driver works. What I also found interesting was the similarity in visual tone between the interiors and exteriors. As with The Driver, the interior life and exterior action slowly blend into one, where lurid colors, shadowy corners, and spots of brightness keep him both hopeful and in despair.

I couldn’t help but admire the three key accoutrements of the Driver: his meticulous five-minute timekeeper of a Patek Philippe watch; his driving gloves (which give a satisfying crunch at critical moments); and his shiny white jacket, which gets dirtier and bloodier as the Driver’s life descends into violence. He is beautifully set up with these accoutrements – they are a substitute for his reticence. We may not know what his name is, but we know what his identity is. I particularly enjoyed the choice of a scorpion as the key embellishment to the jacket – he will sting himself and others to prove a point.

This film is well-cast, with a standout Ryan Gosling, who balances his enjoyment and repulsion of violence, and the radiant Carey Mulligan, who is also doing some balancing of her own – a bright, affectionate woman tapping into the darker side of the men she loves.

Drive. Dir. by Nicolas Winding Refn. Bold Films, et al., 2011. In English.