drYve

THIS LAST WEEK, DRIVE’S SOLE “SOUND EDITING” CREDIT HAS BEEN OVERSHADOWED IN FRANCE BY THE ARTIST’S RESOUNDING TEN ACADEMY NOMINATIONS. YET THE FILM, AS A VIOLENT B MOVIE WITH A HIGH ESTEEM OF ITSELF, WAS AN UNEXPECTED HIT IN FRANCE, WITH 1,5 MILLION MOVIE GOERS GETTING INTO GEAR. IN SPITE OF THIS SUCCESS AND GREAT REVIEWS, SOME OF OUR BEST CRITICS CALLED IT A CASE OF FORM OVER SUBSTANCE. IN OTHER WORDS: AN EMPTY SHELL. TIME TO PONDER AROUND THAT. 

While the film doesn’t shy away from burrowing the likes of Walter Hill (Driver), Michael Mann (Thief), Clint Eastwood (the come-and-go hero with no past) and John Carpenter (Halloween), it still manages to deliver its own signature. The cinematography is pure, effective and glamorous:  the wombish car chases, the balance between tension, romantism, reverie motions and unexpected bursts of violence. All along with motors & hearts amplified by top of the crop electronica.

People say the film has a strong eighties vibe. It certainly has, but I think its willingness to cloud the period issue makes it very contemporary. It’s a reflection of our current obsession with modernity: moving forward with technology while shuffling pop samples from the past three decades.

Sometimes form is meaning. Vibrant and glam, with a predictable story and silent characters, Drive blends arty visual flair with pop culture winks, chevaleresque  measures with gruesome gore, and a social underdog hero with the highest deadly skills. To say it loud and clear, Drive is the ultimate movie of this generation. And the one after.

Our times is that of a violent, tough period while plagued by consumerism, digital craze and emotionless bling. Embodying all these values while being heroic, the main character is both controversial and serves as a model figure for this so called meaningless, faster generation. He retains his latest parcel of humanity through acts of incredible violence, as the Beauty & the Beast opening song explicits the nature of their coming relationship. She’s little red riding hood craving for the wolf. For the audience, this silent metrosexual character appeals on every possible stage: our culture and ambiguity is glowing on the silver screen and the guys can root for his coolness and skills, while the ladies go damp on sight.

Remember Gordon Gekko in Money never sleeps? “This is the NINJA generation”, standing for No Income, No Job & Assets. Yet evoking the deadliest silent assassin ever. And what is the Driver if not a shadowy icon of our time? This generation handles technology like the Driver handles any wheel, yet faces dire social and professionnal perspectives. Though highly talented and effective, the Driver is socially inexistent, to the point of having no name. An exploited mechanic during the day, he survives through nighshift heist calls. His anti-hero ways are of the survival, because the old ways don’t work anymore. This generation has to adapt faster than the ones before, forget the rules, take 400 blows, stay up to date and still move on.

Hand on the wheel, Drive offers the opposite life metaphor to the nightmarish driving sequence from We own the night. There Bobby Green handles the wheel but that doesn’t help him to prevent fate. The Driver sees the wheel as the ultimate way to control his life. On Imdb, some argue that he is Death impersonated, hence fate itself. And does he even die in the end? Or his symbolic sacrifice and endurance serves as a metaphor for this generation’s trials? And why does he leave the money behind?

Drive shows the betrayal of the old and the enduring hunger, disregarded talents of the new. And you have to be in your thirties or under to fully understand this current-up-and-coming-yet-kept-under-the-rug-generation and why the movie reflects it, consciously or not.

Cruising nights with a low social profile, the Driver is invisible to the daily society and yet, serves as the ultimate hero, tougher than the rest, deadliest of all, effective to the bone. That’s the “ghost protocol” we live in, the famous generation Y that’s everywhere, compelled by advertisers to “follow your own rythm” and “forget the rules”. Do you know what I mean? 

TheNightShift
14.02.2012

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Comments
One Response to “drYve”
  1. ps vita says:

    Audio began playing as soon as I opened up this web page, so irritating!

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