Ryan Gosling is busy. Seems like he was on a 1 movie a year pace and now he's had 3 out in the last 3 months. I haven't seen The Ides of March yet, but I did see Crazy Stupid Love, which was great. And this weekend, I saw Drive.
Drive has been getting great reviews (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and I've heard many people say it is one of the best films of the year. I disagree. A lot.
I mentioned Drive a month or so ago because I read part of the script. My problem with the screenplay was the premise: There is no such thing as a guy who is a freelance getaway driver!
That should've been a stopping point right there for the writer. This gritty, realistic crime story I'm writing a hundred pages about is a made up thing that has no basis in reality. Fuck it, it's character!
If you're so bad at committing crimes that you need the best getaway driver in the business, you need to find a different career. Maybe more planning should go into your caper before calling up a stranger you've heard through the criminal underground is really good at outrunning the cops.
People tried to ease my fears about this by telling me that the movie "really isn't about that". It's "just a thing at the beginning". Uh, not really. It's kind of the movie. And I hate how people can just look past that and say it's great anyway. How can you ignore it? It's pure nonsense. The central "job" of this career is a lie. It's like doing a movie about a town that has outlawed dancing. It's craziness.
Even if you dismiss it though, it's still about a guy who works as a mechanic who is an awesome driver. What does that even mean? How is he an awesome driver? Don't you have to be in a racing circuit to do this?
Well, the movie never tells us. They never say how he's so good at driving, where he acquired this skill, or how he's used it - other than being a get away driver for hire. Which again, doesn't exist.
Oh yeah, he is a movie stuntman. He's basically a crash test dummy. But I'm sure that's like a real career that you have to do for a long time and pays legit money. But whatever.
Getting beyond that, here is my real problem with the movie...
The entire film is based on this premise:
Ryan Gosling, a loner who doesn't take unnecessary risks, risks everything for his next door neighborhood he recently met, Carey Mulligan.
Okay, that's not bad. Only one problem, why Carey Mulligan?
You'd think if this guy will do anything to keep Carey safe, there must be something pretty amazing between them.
Too bad they don't say more than "hey" to each other.
Oh, it's minimalism? Is that what you call it? I call it a get out of jail free card. The hard thing to do would be to write dialogue. Having two star actors together who, because we've watched movies all of our lives, know are gonna fall in love, just gaze lovingly at each other is the easy thing to do.
He had more of a relationship when he was Lars with the real girl. They had more interesting conversations than he has with Carey Mulligan in this movie.
I get movies that are slow. Movies without a lot of talking. That's fine. But this was beyond that. This was uncomfortable and not representative of real life. There are long stretches where he is asked a question and just stares without saying a word. That doesn't happen. People don't do that. And people that do do that, are fucking weirdos who don't get Carey Mulligan.
She says "you want some water", and he stares at her for a good minute and a half, and then says "uh, sure".
He's in love now! She's in love now! That's all it took. They have no connection other than physical, I guess. And even that is questionable. Do they have anything in common? Nope. What do they talk about? Well, water and how refreshing it is. Not even that, just the offer of water and the acceptance of it.
Oh, but one time, she touched his hand.
So for that hand touch, Ryan decides to do stuff he's never done before, like get himself killed. His whole deal in doing these (fake, bullshit) jobs is "I give you 5 minutes" and "I don't know you and you don't know me". It's all about taking as few risks as possible.
But not for this girl who just gave him water. Now it's all thrown out the window. Now he's doing stuff that will obviously get him killed or caught. But it doesn't matter, because she is worth it. She must live on. It doesn't even matter if they are together, he was so impressed by her generosity with H2O that he will do anything so that she survives.
The entire film revolves around his love for her, and yet, there is nothing to establish this.
Counter argument: "...but it's about his loneliness and finally doing something for someone else"
Here's my problem with that: how in the hell has he never been in love before? He falls in love at the drop of a hat! He literally helped a single mom out with her car and then immediately decided that his life was worth sacrificing for hers.
You're telling me in the last 30 years no other girl knocked his socks off? What's so special about this girl? It took about 2 seconds for him to go head over heels. That's not the characteristic of someone who has walls up and never lets anyone in and wants to be left alone. This is the characteristic of Kate Hudson in every romantic movie.
So what I'm saying is, I didn't like it. Everything in it is false. It didn't have the goods to deliver a real relationship, so it cheated one with "looks" and music and "indy" bullshit. It developed the style of an art film to cover the holes in its premise.
Here's hoping The Ides of March can make it 2 for 3. If not, there's always Lars and the Real Girl 2.