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Mything Out: Catching Up with “Drive”

Mything Out: Catching Up with "Drive"

That Drive is a stupid movie doesn’t necessarily dictate that it be a bad one. Some of the more exuberant and enjoyable films of the past decade and beyond—the collected works of Paul Verhoeven, Neveldine/Taylor’s Crank diptych and Gamer, Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, the mighty Anchorman, William Friedkin’s upcoming Killer Joe—achieve greatness by embracing stupidity so heatedly that they burn right through it and look back at it, commenting upon their own stupidity (and the stupidity of the formulas, conventions, and culture that they share in) while giddily exulting in it. The now Cannes-anointed Nicolas Winding Refn has attempted to chart a similar course to the sublime by way of the stupid by treating 1980s action-movie tropes as if they were holy writ, but just as with his painfully lugubrious, Kubrick-biting Valhalla Rising, Drive breaks down under the weight of its pomposity. If nothing else (and it is nothing else), Drive is a useful example of the ways in which opportunistic filmmakers can fuse art-house gestures with baldly commercial material, particularly the idea that playing clichés straight equals a Bressonian revelation of their “essence.” Read Andrew Tracy’s review of Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive.

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