Sunday, October 16, 2011

Refn Gives Good Cinematic Fuck


 
Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive is a synthesis of gold. Its influences are things of beauty. Heat. Goodbye,Uncle Tom (the stunning song 'Oh My Love'). Le Samourai. Thief. Walter Hill's The Driver. Takeshi's Hanna-Bi. Lynch's Lost Highway. Blue Velvet, too.

There's a love story there about a caring man who wants to do right for someone who deserves it, someone who's revealed no hidden, shabby agenda. His motives don't seem selfish. They seem pure. Ryan Gosling plays him with a quietly incandescent serenity. Carey Mulligan, harboring a beautiful spirit, plays the girl. She exudes a tone that many men seek, but few can avoid adjusting.

The use of light and shade will recall Bullitt and Heat for cinephiles. For those less exposed to cinema's treasures, it will feel fresh. For mine, the influences are like velvety collisions in the dark. The styles mesh and form a truly hypnotic whole. As in a Takeshi Kitano film, the brutal emerges organically from the beautiful and serenity is briefly interrupted by violence before it dominates again. Refn's style IS the film's protagonist.


 The plot is as simple as it needs to be for the tenor the film wants to achieve. There are no contrived detours. The threads knit comfortably together, forging a taut structure.

Albert Brooks plays a bad guy who was probably once good. He lost his focus. Took a path of least resistance.  Ron Perlman, looking stunningly grotesque, plays a badder guy who never struggled with good. He exudes the exact opposite of Mulligan. He is metal distortion driven so far into your ears your eyes bleed.

Few directors resist the urge to shoot car chases as jigsaws of chaos. Refn does. One car chase, not particularly lengthy, rears up at us like an angry animal and feels like two panthers in pursuit of one another. It is staged in glorious wide shots, and we never lose track of what's where and what's being done to whom. The use of sound in this sequence is the smartest since Cobra. It blew me away.


It's a film you feel and surrender to. The elements -- music, cinematography, lighting, silence -- marry and masturbate our senses. We're being fucked beautifully. Rising and falling. Nothing else exists. As it should be.

18 comments:

  1. jervaise brooke hamsterOctober 17, 2011 at 5:24 AM

    Superb reveiw my old mucker, Soiled Sinema just did an equally brilliant reveiw of "Valhalla Rising" Refn's previous film, i just wondered w-HEATHER you`d read it ? (and the funny com-girl-t that i left where i actually girl-tioned "Drive" as well).

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  2. Excellent post Phantom. The film is a genuinely great piece of cinema. One of the most enjoyable aspects have been all the different influences viewers have.come up with, I saw the Lynchian ideas but I hadn't thought of Kitano, which fits perfectly. I could go on about Refn's movie indefinitely but I'll leave it there!

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  3. I have seen this and it was awesome! I like your picks and have always liked pulp fiction very much! Especially the independent movies, they are so much fun! Happy Halloween Phantom and I hope you stop by again sometime. Hello to Jervaise, how are you? I started a short story on my site called, In His Eyes that I'm writing in parts. I only have part one done (of course I'm still writing my first book) and was sad when nobody left any comments on it. Either I suck at writing or something, but I thought it was a good beginning. Do you have any wisdom you can give me about what I'm doing wrong? Or right? I'm still going on with the story but I'm making it a learning experience to help me write my book. Good luck with your projects my friend! ♥

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  4. Great review, mate! It's retarded I live in Refn's backyard and I haven't even seen his new movie yet!! >_<

    However, I did receive the British Hindi remake of PUSHER the other day. :D
    I wonder how it's gonna hold up to the original film.

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  5. Jack K -- a Hindi PUSHER? The mind boggles.

    Do see DRIVE if you can. You won't be wasting your time, Jack.

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  6. I certainly plan on seeing it and hope to do so this coming Friday or Saturday.

    You can check the (British) Hindi film here.

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  7. it's a gem and the soundtrack (including the deleted badalamenti score) is perfect. don't overlook friedkin's to live and die in LA as a big influence as well, right down to the scene where the sound of the outside world is muted in favor of the internal. loved this movie.

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  8. if i didn't already tip my hand, i'm a refn fan...as my breakdown of the pusher trilogy will attest. unless it falls thru, i'm supposed to be interviewing him for an australian magazine. if it happens, i'll let you know when it'll be on news stands.

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  9. Paul -- yes!, I thought of this during the movie, but forgot writing the piece. Big influence! LIVE AND DIE is one of my favorites of all time.

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  10. Thanks for reading and leaving all the comments on my blog. And you're right, I am impatient, but I feel like it's often the only way to get things done.
    Vi

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  11. wow, surprised to hear that only b/c it's one of mine too and most people don't really give it the props it deserves. incredibly moody, atmospheric film with one of my favorite anti-heroes ever, an incredible surprise ending and possibly the greatest car chase ever put on film. love the wang chung score, turturro's cameo and dafoe's rick masters.

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  12. jervaise brooke hamsterOctober 21, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    Phantom, i just watched a trailer for "Paranormal Activity 3" and all i noticed were the 2 gorgeous little girls, what a couple of little darlin`s ! ! !.

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  13. jervaise brooke hamsterOctober 21, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Phantom, have you read the com-girl-ts that i left over on Soiled Sinema's most recent reveiw, "One Girl's War" ?. The com-girl-ts section on their reveiw of "Monsters" is very funny by the way. Oh Heather and Penelope, what a combination.

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  14. jervaise brooke hamsterOctober 28, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Ryan Goslings surname makes him sound like a faggot, "GOSLING" what a silly, poofy, pansy name. He should change his name to "SAVAGE", now theres a name that literally defines rampaging heterosexuality.

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  15. hamster -- I'm flattered. I rampage whenever I can.

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  16. jervaise brooke hamsterOctober 29, 2011 at 7:48 AM

    Well done geezer.

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  17. Vi -- There's getting things done, and getting things done to a high standard -- and enjoying the "doing". You're welcome.

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  18. Paul -- I hope you get an opportunity to interview him.

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