Drive (2011) - The Scorpion and the Frog

Duration: 100min
Category: Crime
Available: On DVD
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While Attack the Block is so far the funnest movie of the year, Drive is certainly the most cool, bad ass film of the year. It oozes style with its pink script titles and 80’s music. Ryan Gosling reeks of ass kicking power (or should I say face kicking power?) and if the film were a person, it would walk with so much swagger and confidence that even Gene Simmons would quiver in his boots. The film is just that awesome.

Stylistically, Drive features some of the best shots of the year. Every frame is shot perfectly; the camera work is immaculate, everything from lighting and angles are lined up impeccably. It’s almost too perfect in a sense. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel has worked on a lot of projects (ranging from Indian Summer to X-Men 1 and 2) yet he’s really never been acknowledged. I would start a campaign now for an Oscar nomination for his work here.

The aforementioned confidence I was referring to earlier is a quite one. There are long pauses in the movie with no dialog, just a lot of starring from characters. This leaves a lot to the audience as we are to just sit there and take it in. Listen to the music playing; registering what is about to happen and trying to get into these characters heads. There are moments of violent outbursts which took me by surprise as I wasn’t expecting the film to get that violent. I’m not saying they took away from the movie at all, in fact, they just add to the general coolness of it. How about that hotel room scene – incredible?!

“Have you ever heard of the story of the scorpion and the frog?” This line was spoken by Ryan’s character towards the end of the film. Many people may have missed it as it at first seemed like a throw-away line. However, I am aware of the story so I immediately starting putting two and two together and suddenly, the film made a whole lot more sense. Here is the basis of the story:

The Scorpion and the Frog is a fable about a scorpion asking a frog to carry him across the river. The frog is afraid of being stung during the trip, but the scorpion argues that if it stung the frog, the frog would sink and the scorpion would then drown too. The frog agrees and begins carrying the scorpion but midway across the river, the scorpion does indeed sting the frog – dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature.

The film brilliantly portrays Ryan’s character as the scorpion with his awesome jacket (which I want by the way). The fable basically tells us that some creatures (or humans) do things not because they necessarily want to, but because they feel they need to. They don’t compute the ramifications or think things through, they just act on impulse. This fits Ryan’s character perfectly. He lives on the wild side and when presented with an opportunity, he jumps on it instinctively. He is calm, cool and collected till he needs to sting, and when he does, boy had you better watch out. The elevator scene anyone?

Drive is just an all around excellent film. It slowly builds in tension never really giving too much away. Some would say that a film titled Drive should feature more driving and less gazing, and while I could have used another chase scene, I think the film ultimately benefited from the way it was presented. Much like last years Animal Kingdom, it’s a slow burning movie with bursts of excitement – only this one had a little more excitement.

Suffice it to say, I loved this movie. As with any movie that receives almost unanimous praise from critics, one is apprehensive going to see it with a clear mind. In the back of your mind, you will always be saying to yourself “what are the critics talking about?” Most of the time, you are left under whelmed. I will admit that I was a little scared that Drive wouldn’t live up to its buzz, but alas, it surpassed it. I am in awe at its beauty, classic scene after classic scene and yet again, all around coolness. Go see this movie with an open mind and don’t forget the story of the scorpion and the frog.

Review By: Jeff Warner

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