Many years ago, when I was a student of the cinema, I considered a couple of popular films to be litmus tests. You laughed hysterically at Flirting with Disaster? You’re a philanderer with a misogynistic sense of humor. Wept at The English Patient? You’re pretentious. Please, that film was bo-ring!
The other day, we watched Drive, which I’d heard good things about. Let me tell you that I hated it so much I had to get up, find my iPod and tweet about how much I hated it. And it got a 93% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes! What am I missing? I recognize that many women (and men) find Ryan Gosling very appealing. I saw The Notebook; I understand the concept. But in Drive? What a tool. I don’t think he’s mysterious because he doesn’t talk much; I think he’s an idiot.
I didn’t hate the movie because the main guy didn’t have clever dialogue, nor did I mind the stylish film-making. Kinda reminded me of Taxi Driver. I love Taxi Driver. You know why? Travis Bickle is interesting! Jodie Foster plays a child prostitute, and Bickle takes Cybill Shepherd to a porno on a date, yet Taxi Driver does not come close to demeaning women the way Drive does. Carey Mulligan’s character is an idiot, fawning over stupid Ryan Gosling, looking at him with goo-goo eyes after he’s done exactly nothing to earn her desire.
Another female character (and this is a spoiler because there’s only ONE other female character) gets her head blown off in glorious slow-mo spattervision.
Aside: I noted that Quentin Tarantino killed off a female character in Inglourious Basterds (I have to look that one up to spell it INcorrectly) more graphically and with more zeal than he killed off the men. It bothered me there, but I appreciated his violence as an art form. In Drive, it all struck me as gratuitous.
Speaking of gratuitous, what was with the topless girls sitting around Ron Perlman’s character while he takes a phone call? It was a phone call scene! He could have been anywhere!
I can forgive a lot of a film if it’s well-enough performed, written, directed or even scored, but I can’t think of a single redeeming quality about Drive. No wait, I can. I liked the way the title of the film appeared in the opening credits. It was all downhill from there.