A Real Hero (aka: I Quite Like Drive and its Soundtrack)

College – A Real Hero (feat. Electric Youth)

So you may be nodding your head with sublime abandon, smiling at the overtly direct lyrics, precious vocals and selfconsciously 1980’s production sensibility while the song plays.  If not, I’d wager that you have yet to see one of the best films of 2011, Drive.  There’s a certain neck-hair-raising context this song is placed into…

The story of a quiet stunt man who moonlights as a getaway driver, caught up with affection for a woman who melts his stoic edge, sacrificing his safe routine for the good of others has been done.  Director Nicolas Wending Refn not only spikes this coulda-been-warhorse recipe with wincing violence and tender detail, but cuts through the surface coolness to reveal the messy desire, motivation and reason behind the action and reaction.  In other words, we’re shown something any hack can make cool and slick, boiled down to – and built up from – the frail humanity from which is grows.  In simplest terms: it’s a thriller done goddamn RIGHT for once.  And the music is superb.

6 thoughts on “A Real Hero (aka: I Quite Like Drive and its Soundtrack)

    • Definitely watch it first, the songs carry so much weight with the proper context. And do NOT watch that screener that’s floating around online – it’s got placeholder music, missing scenes, and unfinished effects, as I’ve read on imdb. So happy I just went to the cinema instead. Totally worth your $10 or so.

  1. I don’t have much more to add to this conversation, but I did just see Drive at my local dollar theater last week and I was quite impressed as well. The story, the actors, the filming, just about everything was spot on. Most of the music was awesome and enhanced the action. It had me nodding my head. It was refreshing to hear such interesting choices in an action/thriller, although in some instances I felt the selections were odd and just didn’t work (not the upbeat stuff, but rather some of the slower stuff.) One example that sticks out for me was the scene where Bryan Cranston’s character died. I don’t have a problem with slower paced music mind you, where appropriate, but that particular piece didn’t work for me, it felt out of place. The latter half of the movie felt like it shared some characteristics with American Psycho for me, where it felt just surrealistic, and in some ways unrealistic. But eh, its a movie after all. Fucking enjoyed it, and I look forward to seeing it again, which can’t be said for too many movies made these days. Oh also David, have you seen Bellflower? Another movie centered around cars, that I thought was innovative and enjoyable for me.

    • Bellflower is damn impressive and strange and moved me in a gut-reaction way. It moved in such a surreal way that seemed half intentional, half happenstance (or lack of storytelling experience) but there really is nothing like it out there. The fact that it was made so far outside the system with so few resources and only a small dedicated group makes it all the more impressive, and I’d love to see what they do next. I kind of want to watch it again to see if I view the ending any differently (I kind of felt that it was showing two ways things “went” and left it up to you to decide which was real and which was a fantasy) yet I kind of want to leave it how it is in my memory.

      And as for Drive I just love the style and the story and will definitely watch it again soon. Have you seen Refn’s last film, Valhalla Rising? Much more minimal and brutal and hallucinatory though lacking in story, not that it’s an issue..

  2. As I understand it, filming was stop and go on Bellflower and the entire thing was filmed over a long stretch of time. Essentially when time and money was available they filmed, so that would lend a bit to the inconsistent nature of the film. But I certainly think they wanted to blur the lines between the “real” and fantasy world for the characters and for me it worked overall. As to your last point about questioning whether to re-watch it or leaving the movie how it currently stands in your mind, I think personally I would have to go for the latter. It isn’t the type of movie where one needs to go back to examine all the details to make better sense of the movie, because better understanding of it isn’t the focus. It is as you said made for sort of the gut-reaction and how it makes you feel.

    I haven’t seen Valhalla Rising, but it’s on NF Instant View, so I might just give a go soon.

    Glad to be seeing new posts from you, keep up the good work and happy holidays!

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