Last month, I went to the theater to see “Drive.” I didn’t really know what to expect because the trailers didn’t really seem to agree with all the reviews I’d seen written about it. If you saw a commercial for the movie on TV, you’d assume it was going to be some badass action flick, but critics raved about it being quite cerebral and elegant. If I may take a line from hearingade contributor Walter Chaw, “it’s that certain quality of masculine stillness that marks ‘Drive’ as another Nicolas Winding Refn masterpiece.”
Boy, is it ever. The film indulges viewers in all the right ways. It gives them something to think about, it feeds into nostalgia near and far and it makes them feel. In addition, it’s got one of the hottest movie kisses this side of E.T. (Hey, I was a kid when I first saw that movie, so don’t judge me!), a woman’s head being blown off at close range and a soundtrack that will get under your skin like very few have done before. This thing is the whole package wrapped up in a shiny scorpion-embroidered jacket.
Seriously, this kind of music does not happen in movies enough. It may seem strange, but music choice in film is sometimes as important as the story itself. If “Drive” had opened with a song by Nickelback, for instance, right off the bat I’d have a negative (or at least unimpressed) preconception of the movie itself. If it had played the Notorious B.I.G. during the party scene, I wouldn’t have a negative opinion BUT the movie would have a completely different feel about it.
But neither of those things happened, because the movie knows what it is (read: awesome) and has the music to prove it. While Ryan Gosling drives all sexy and aloof-like down a dark Los Angeles road during the opening credits and the ’80s-pink title appears onscreen, we get to hear the dirty electropop of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall” and feel like we’ve traveled through time. And suddenly, you just know the movie’s going to kick ass, and kick ass it does.
Until I can get the movie on DVD, I’mma just be over here, rocking this song every day.