There are fewer and fewer reasons to go to the movies these days especially in terms of good cinema stories that when a film like DRIVE comes out, it’s an event. But this is a good thing. It makes movie going become rare and special.
Again it’s no secret how much I love minimalism in terms of story telling and characters that reveal themselves through action. The hero story is played out and we know it. But as Joseph Campbell notes, the hero has a thousand faces. And sometimes there is a very thin line that separates the hero from the villain. Both are human but only one has real humanity. It’s in action that real character is revealed and the subtext is exposed.
In terms of story telling, Drive does something I always look for in great films: You can’t wait to see what will happen next. It has such an simple screen story it could have easily been boring and trite (and over written) without the care of a good film maker (in this case, the talented Nicolas Winding Refn). Because a majority of film making today is plot driven, it suffers from a plot generated cycle of patching up holes while creating new ones. The result are scenes that only answer themselves and not to a greater theme. No turns in the story lead to characters explaining rather than acting.
Like the nameless George Clooney character in The American. The kid in Drive is someone who is at a crossroads. Someone who is ready to walk the straight and narrow. But like anything there are repercussions and consequences for our actions. And as the movie’s slogan denotes, “there are no clean getaways”.
The heroism isn’t in what the kid actually does (in such a brutally beautiful way) It’s the fact that he is willing to selflessly give up so much in pursuit of freedom which in a sense, is as vital to happiness as life itself.