Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn’s critically acclaimed film should have been nominated for numerous awards but has been completely snubbed by the Golden Globes and I am quite certain it will fail to strike a chord with this year’s Oscar voters. To make matters worse, the film has been largely ignored by mainstream audiences. Who’s to blame?
It’s no secret that major award ceremonies are mostly a sham, where major studios spend large sums of money canoodling voters into ensuring that cookie-cutter offerings such The King’s Speech take home the coveted Best Picture prize. Where does Drive fit in all of this? The film’s nameless protagonist played by Ryan Gosling (Driver) barely speaks throughout its lean 100 minute running time and yet conveys more raw emotion than many recent onscreen characters that come to mind. No, Drive won’t be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and Gosling’s mesmerizing performance will go unnoticed in favour of his role in drek like Crazy Stupid Love.
What’s even more upsetting is that audiences were misled into believing they were going to see a slam-bang action thriller filled with mobsters and endless car chases. Don’t get me wrong, the film certainly has its share of ruthless gangsters, some thrilling car chases and blood galore, but at its core, Drive is a love story. Gosling admits that both he and Refn were immensely inspired by John Hughs’ 80’s teen romance films:
“We were watching Pretty in Pink, and we agreed that if there was head-smashing in it, it would be the perfect film. Lack of violence was keeping 16 Candles from being a masterpiece.”
While the filmmakers behind Drive had certainly created an original and captivating piece of art, Hollywood aims to sell its product and decided that marketing the film as a run-of-the mill action movie would lead to big returns at the box office. Many filmgoers were disappointed that the wall-to-wall action they saw in the trailer was not necessarily what they witnessed in the finished product. Of course, bad word of mouth from action fans quickly began to spread and the movie never had a chance.
It is sorely disappointing that one of the best films of the year has been left out to dry. It proves that audiences just don’t appreciate sophisticated filmmaking anymore and have become brainwashed by a steadfast diet of fast-food like offerings such as: Transformers, uninspired movies based on EVERY Marvel character ever created and a plethora of computer generated family ‘classics’ a la The Smurfs. Yes, the majority of films are not made these days, they’re simply manufactured on a conveyer belt and apparently that’s exactly what moviegoers seem to prefer.