What it also does that most Action Films and their bratty Filmmakers forget, is that It pays astute attention to it's environment. So many Movies look and feel like they could be just about anywhere... In a warehouse or a lot with a giant Green Screen in a lot of cases... Whereas Drive is set against modern day Los Angeles and it's lucious though intimate photography by Newton Thomas Sigel (frequent collaborator of Bryan Singer) breathes new life into the oft-filmed city.
You don't get anymore L.A. than a Film about a guy who moonlights as a Movie-Car Stuntman when he's not a getaway driver or a mechanic.
Nicholas Winding Refn and his accomplices take the genre very seriously. They know of it's trappings and that it's story could be easily convoluted. Instead, it's here presented in a very straight forward manner. The Film is very lean and never becomes one of excess like so many Movies of today. My very observant wife pointed out to me that a couple of different interiors even utilize the same wallpaper. I haven't watched a Film in the genre this intimate in such a long time. It reminds me of the days when Films wanted to tap into a mood and rhythm all their own without having to feel the need to constantly shake up the audience.
Drive does have it's fair share of Action and violence, but above all else, it's a thing of beauty. This is a Film that could easily be thought of as style over substance. However, much like Tom Ford's A Single Man from 2009, it's designs are to be both painstakingly crafted and to be a profound entertainment. My kind of Movie. And the best Film of the year (so far)
Wardrobe as a character in a film: Drive is all about the details
Because Drive harkens back the memories of 80's Films past, from it's choice of credit font right down to it's Tangerine Dream-like score, why not make a list of my favorite Neo-Noirs from that decade?
A Michael Mann 2-for-1 Neo-Noir Double Feature:
More 80's Neo-Noir goodness:
Out Of Bounds
Sea Of Love
The Big Easy
Still Of The Night
Streets Of Fire
The Morning After
House Of Games
P.I. Private Investigations
No Way Out
White Of The Eye
8 Million Ways To Die
Out Of The Dark