#235 / 365 – ‘Drive’ – 100 mins
Cinema Challenge #94 / 115
By day, the silent, Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a stuntman who spins wheels and flips cars for Hollywood films. By night, he’s a much in-demand getaway man who navigates the labyrinthine streets of LA with speed and ice-cool precision. The Driver’s reserve melts a little for his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), but he exposes a well-hidden vulnerability when he agrees to help her jailbird ex-husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) out of a tight spot with the mob. But when tailgated by the mob led by Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman) he soon realises that the gangsters are after more than the bag of cash in his trunk he is forced to shift gears and go on the offense.
Ryan Gosling, is a man of few words and one of no name – a nod to Clint Eastwood ‘The Man With No Name’ in the Sergio Leone Westerns. As soon as Gosling arrives on the screen he channels an epitome of cool performance and one that you very much liken to that of Steve McQueen, preferring to let his face and body language tell the story, and his yellow satin jacket with a scorpion motif will in years to come be as iconic as Eastwood’s hat and poncho. Likewise the dialogue is kept to a minimal in Carey Mulligan role as the vulnerable neighbour Irene, and despite this lack of dialogue both Gosling and Mulligan prove output powerful emotions – with the lift scene being a prime example of this.
Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (‘Bronson’, ‘Valhalla Rising’) employs unusual camera angles and a unique sense of style, none more notably during the opening getaway sequence, where it is a showcase of fantastic editing backed up by some stunning neon lit cinematography of Los Angeles.
Refn provides a sizzling cool movie and one which is certainly the coolest of the year, and offers a methodical moody tone that’s peppered with ultra-violent moments, which is played along to a terrific synthesized soundtrack by Cliff Martinez and is one is destined to be downloaded by the audience straight after the film – at least I will be.
At times, Winding Refn could have injected a little more pace into proceedings, but overall I recommend you grab your toothpick, sit down and fasten your seat belts, because Drive sucks you in with a cool intensity – your eyes and ears deserve this ultra stylized noir thriller and masterpiece.
#236 / 365 – ‘Blade Runner’ (1982) – 117 mins
IMDb Challenge #139 / 250 – Ranked #117 – DVD Collection
In a cyberpunk vision of the future, man has developed the technology to create replicants, human clones used to serve in the colonies outside Earth but with fixed lifespans. In Los Angeles, 2019, Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a Blade Runner, a cop who specialises in terminating replicants. Originally in retirement, he is forced to re-enter the force when six replicants escape from a off world colony to Earth.
Its been several years since I watched Blade Runner and revisiting it again today was a delight, and amongst several others this masterpiece from Ridley Scott surely ranks as of one of the greatest sci-fi film ever. It offers a much more believable alternative vision of the future than the usual gleamed settings found in most sci-fi movies. This vision has character and it is bleak.
Harrison Ford is superb as Deckard, the hardboiled ‘Blade Runner’ who is forced to take down the 4 replicants and his performance is right up there with ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ which preceded this.
If there is one film that I would welcome to be re-released on that big screen so I can capture for the first time these extraordinary and jaw dropping futuristic visuals, it’s this one. Also it’s funny now to watch films like Blade Runner that were set in the near-future back then, seeing their vision of the future and realise that in just 8 years we’ll have flying cars and androids.