“I Got Speed Inside my Brain: Part I”


Original Post Date: February 3rd, 2012

Author’s Note: This was my first attempt at a themed month of posts, which I think worked out pretty well. The first dealt with the role of getaway driver extraordinaire as seen in the film “Drive.” Enjoy!  

“I Got Speed Inside My Brain: Part I”

Those are lyrics from the song “Highway Star” (1972) by the band Deep Purple. However, it also applies to what we’ve got cooking up this month here at TitanTown. (No, we’re not making amphetamines). But our movies for the month of February involve speed. A lot of it.

February is known for a lot of things. There is Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and I’m sure a few people have birthdays. In this little corner of the Internet, however, February is going to be The Month of the Getaway Driver. As any professional robber will tell you, you cannot overestimate the importance of a skilled driver. The driver will get you to your destination efficiently, making sure to remain under the radar for as long as possible. If a job gets hot and it’s time to make tracks, your driver will be there with a fine set of wheels. A good driver will keep you one step ahead of the law (or even other criminals) and get you wherever it is you need to be. On time and, preferably, in one piece.

So, you want a driver? OK, but remember…

1. Any hood can drive a car. A professional drives a car well. And a professional isn’t cheap. If you want the best transportation around, you’re going to have to pay for it. You’re going to pay a lot for it. Be prepared to shell out top dollar if you want someone with a good track record (pardon the pun) and successful jobs under their belt. You also want someone who can keep their mouth shut. You will never see a professional driver bragging about a job. To anyone. And a professional won’t crack under the hot lights of a police investigation. So, if you aren’t prepared to pay a skilled wheelman what they’re worth, feel free to stick any slob behind the wheel…if you’re feeling lucky. Maybe someone will write to you while you’re serving time after a botched job.

2. If you want the best driver, you’re going to have to play by their rules. Many drivers have a unique code of conduct and live by certain rules. Things that may not matter to you, like time or weight, can mean everything to a successful job. How many passengers? Is the driver supposed to wait for the crew? How long? Where is the destination? These are ground rules that need to be prepared in advance. If things head south quickly, it’s one less issue you’ll need to worry about.

They take their work very seriously, and their attitudes reflect that. See, real drivers plan their jobs ahead of time. They decide which routes to take, which roads to avoid and when to avoid them. Your authority ends when you enter their car. You’re in the driver’s world now. Don’t like it? Tough. Find someone else to do your driving for you, if you can. But the best wheelmen around can pick & choose who they work with. And they won’t stick their necks out for just anyone. Why take a chance on a risky job if you can’t trust the crew?

3. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to double-cross your wheelman. This cannot be stressed enough. You do not want these people on your bad side. If you thought they were cold, calculating and ruthless before…wait until you cheat them out of money, attempt to strong-arm them, set them up to take the fall for the heist, etc. Above all us, do not attempt to murder them…or their loved ones, for that matter (if you can find any). They will pay you back in spades. And they will look flashy while doing so.

You might not agree with all of these rules but, as automobile enthusiast Dean Winchester said to his brother Sam on the television series Supernatural, “Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole.” When you’re depending on someone else for a ride, you don’t really get to run your mouth.

Now that we’ve discussed the finer points of the getaway driver, let’s take a look at this week’s selection:

 “Drive” 2011

 


“You give me a time and a place, I give you a 5 minute window. Anything happens in that 5 minutes and I’m yours. No matter what.”
– Driver

 

“I’d give you a 100 minute window, Ryan Gosling.”
– DirectingTitan

 

Hey, DT! Convince me! So…why: Drive?

 

Well, for starters, it was considered to be the #1 best movie of 2011 by Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun-Times). Its director, Nicholas Winding Refn, won “Best Director” at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. It’s also been nominated for an Oscar in “Best Achievement in Sound Editing.” There are countless other awards and nominations in the mix for Drive, but you can Google them. This spot is for my words!

Drive focuses on a nameless young man (Ryan Gosling, by name) who we come to think of as Driver. Driver spends his days working as a mechanic for his mentor/friend, Shannon (Bryan Cranston for you Breaking Bad fans). When he’s not repairing cars, Driver also works as a stunt driver. If your movie requires a car to careen off the road or perform a couple rolls, it may very well be Driver behind the wheel. Oh, and when Driver is not being a mechanic OR performing stunts, he also moonlights as a getaway driver for hire. It’s nice to see someone with so many talents, isn’t it?

Driver’s first two means of employment are pretty self-explanatory. His third, being a driver-for-hire, requires a bit more explanation. For the right price, Drive will serve as your mode of transportation. You tell him where to be, and when to be there….and he gives you 5 minutes. 5 minutes to do whatever it is you need to do, and to get back to him. If not, well, you’re on your own. And you don’t want to be on your own, because Driver is damn good at what he does. He understands the city. He knows its streets, with all of their ins and outs. On top of that, he’s a natural when it comes to understanding his vehicle and willing it to do exactly what he needs it to do. He has a variety of tricks up his sleeve, and he’s prepared to use them all to get the job done.

Things are running pretty smoothly for Driver and Shannon. They have dreams of moving up in the world and purchasing their very own stock car. With Shannon’s experience and Driver’s skill, they’re sure to make a killing. Unfortunately, there is a different type of killing on the horizon. To get the money for this car, they’re forced to rub elbows with local “businessman”, Bernie Rose (a dramatic departure for funnyman Albert Brooks).  And, Shannon and Driver will learn, everything comes with a price.
Adding to the complications is Driver’s newfound friendship with his attractive neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son, Benicio. She’s got some troubles of her own, and what starts as an attempt to set things right soon causes events to spiral out of control. Driver’s worlds have collided and, if he is to stay alive and protect the ones he cares about, it will require all of his skill, determination and precision to weather the storm.
Strap yourself in, and make sure you are carrying your license and registration (both fake, of course). Drive is an adrenaline charged thrill-ride with a heart and a kick-ass soundtrack. Although, it apparently wasn’t “charged” enough for some people.

 

Now that you’re here, check out:

 

1. The original book, “Drive“, written by James Sallis. Sallis’ book served as inspiration for the film, as Hossein Amini adapted the work for the screen. Drive is not to be confused with The Driver (1978), a similar movie that we’ll touch on in the future. While there are many similarities between the two films, they remain unconnected.
2. The atmosphere! At first glance, I assumed this movie took place during the 1970’s or 1980’s. This was due to its electronic-pop soundtrack and nighttime color scheme that brought MiamiVice to mind at times. Even Driver’s bomber jacket (complete with a giant, golden scorpion emblazoned on the back) reminded me a bit of Walter Hill’s The Warriors (1979). In my case, the illusion was only shattered when characters began to pull out cell phones and I recognized a few chain stores in Driver’s rear-view mirror. (Metaphorically). All of these things work hand-in-hand to transport the viewer to a different place, where life can be both fascinatingly beautiful and sadistically ugly at the same time.
3. Ladies (and Gentlemen, also): Ryan Gosling. Be honest, that’s the only reason some of you people out there are watching this movie, anyway. I will proudly admit to never having seen The Notebook, so I was pretty unfamiliar with Gosling with the exception of some roles when he was younger. I was unconvinced he could carry out a role of this type. I was dead wrong. His performance floored it and left me in the dust. (THAT’S A CAR JOKE! HONK HONK!)
drive2
“Hey girl, do you like….cars?”

 

Who brings a DVD to a gunfight? You do! (If it’s Drive):

One thing that evidently shocked many Drive viewers was the amount of violence. Having heard of this beforehand, I wandered into it expecting a mix between Hostel and Saving Private Ryan. However, I did not find this to be the case. Yes, there are stabbings galore. The violence is palpable. You hear every slice, feel every bone crack.  It’s intense, and you may need a shower when you’re finished, but it’s not the worst thing out there. Still, this is not a Sunday drive to the park, so be warned if you are squeamish.
drive3
“These days, behind any corner could be Ryan Gosling. What a time to be alive.”

The driving scenes are expertly done. At times, you feel as if you are riding shotgun with Driver on one of his assignments. This especially comes in handy when the director is attempting to convey the conflicting emotions within Driver. As there is no inner monologue, and Driver’s not a very talkative fellow anyway, the viewer must rely on Driver’s mannerisms and expressions (or lack thereof) to help tell the tale. Make no mistake, this is a dark and emotional world he wades through and, as the tagline states “No one makes a clean getaway.”


This is the end…

Drive makes a worthy addition to any film collection, particularly if you’re a fan of the crime thriller genre. Personally, I was thrilled to see such a well done take on the driver character, and I was very impressed with Drive. That said, I think a lot of people are going to get caught up in the buzz surrounding the film and expect a different type of movie all together. Drive may or may not make you question your place in the world, but it does provide a lot of food for thought. Should someone always do “the right thing?” Is it possible to do good by doing “evil”? Should we ever just shut up and allow bad things to happen on our watch? Go for a ride with Driver and discover the answer for yourself. It’s a 100 minute window. Anything that happens after that? You’re on your own. – DT

*Note: DirectingTitan is seeking someone to drop $160 on a replica Drive jacket for him. If you buy it, he will wear it while he escorts you around town and completes various missions. He will look badass. He will make you look badass by association. PS: He will drive approximately 5 miles over the speed limit, obey all signs and signals and also stop for snacks at your request.*

**Author’s Note: I did end up buying this jacket. I used it for a Drive Halloween costume once and a couple times recreationally. I had to stop wearing it because people kept jumping into my car and screaming, “Floor it!”

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