Watch Drive

I know I’m late to the party about this. But the movie hasn’t come out in Germany. So technically, this is still hot news. Drive is a great movie. You probably should watch Drive right now. Why aren’t you watching Drive. Ok, watch the Trailer at least:

I haven’t come up with this one-liner, but the best way to describe the movie is: it’s a 70ies movie that looks and sounds like an 80ies movie. What do I mean with that? In a world dominated by impossible CGI camera crane shots and entire movies that consist of people shouting and explosions, Drive is a astonishingly slow, deliberate movie. It’s an almost silent, simple character study of a rather introvert guy with great skills making some moves on the streets. He meets a shy girl from next door. The two share some very long, silent, bittersweet moments with each other. Finally, the guy decides to help the girl with her family problems. And that’s where things start falling apart.

Let me emphasize this. This is a movie called “Drive”. There are only two car chase scenes in it. One is more about hiding than driving fast. The other is over in just a few seconds. The rest is all slow, long, silent shots of characters.

This is not only genius because it undermines all expectations. It is also genius because when shit eventually hits the fan – and boy does it hit the fan – it hits so much more harder and is so much more effective. When the movie shows you violence, it actually feels soul-crushingly violent especially because it stands out from the rest of the movie. And apparently the movie’s director asked Gaspar Noé for advice so that clearly helped too.

Another amazing thing is the casting. Each individual character is a home-run. Mr. chick flick Ryan Gosling is the perfect shy, nice, unseemly looking fellow and it’s just so much more griping when you see him flip out when he is pushed to the edge. His counter-part Carey Mulligan is virtually the very same person. They seem like soul-mates as actors already. So they don’t even have to talk for you to see that they are made for each other. And then my new favorite Oscar Isaac in the only role I ever seen him in – a bottom-feeding criminal on a bad streak. Mr. Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston as a honest man that just shouldn’t have gotten involved with criminals. Christina Hendricks in a small role where you actually see her act instead of staring at her breasts. Why am I even listing the stuff. Just watch it ok?

But before you do, the best part is still the soundtrack. No song on the soundtrack was released before 2007. They all sound as if they were 20 years older than they are. Synthesizer sounds, cheesy repetitive lyrics – they fit perfectly to the slow melancholic noir vibe of the film. And they stay with you long after the credits roll. At least they did for me. Perhaps because I immediatly got the soundtrack on iTunes on the same night and have been listening to it on repeat ever since.

If there is one thing I would criticize it’s that the director clearly wasn’t very interested in cars. Of course, this helped the movie a lot! It’s a movie about the driver, not about the car he is driving. Still, they could have at least put in some subtle details to pay tribute to the subject matter. But perhaps it’s the petrol head in me talking. Bottom line: you need to watch Drive.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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