Drive is a B-movie, and a nasty one at that. I think it’s important to make that clear from the start, as many reviews I’ve been reading seem to emphasize the film’s sense of cool, and while it has style in abundance, it also has a surplus of really graphic violence, and while I was expecting a tense crime thriller when entering the cinema, I didn’t expect a scene that echoed the fire-extinguisher moment from Irreversible. Personally, I think it works great, but it jars with the image the film’s marketing has cultivated of laid-back cool and turns the film – for the better, I think – into a very different beast.
Imagine if you’d gone to see Psycho when it first opened in 1960 knowing nothing about it. Imagine! Janet Leigh’s sudden death and film’s sudden shift from girl-on-the-run movie to perverted psychosexual thriller was so disorienting and audacious at the time that people were outraged, absolutely up in arms. It’s something that could never be repeated in today’s ultra-communicative society – spoilers are just too plentiful for anyone to have the rug pulled out from underneath them so thoroughly.
This is why, when I started to hear about Almodóvar’s new film The Skin I Live In, and its Hitchcockian qualities, and its killer twist, I decided to stop reading about it and go and see it ASAP. And while it’s not Psycho (it’s actually more akin to Vertigo, but I worry that even saying that might be too much) it is a very good thriller with a deeply disturbed premise, and I’d strongly encourage you to go and see it before reading about. That being said, I’ll try and be as vague as possible. (more…)