Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Movie review in a music blog: Drive

By Robert Nelson

We plan to reward Twin Cities
contributor Robert Nelson for
doing double duty this week
by reimbursing his fiancé for 
her portion of the bill.
 I love movies. I can get into a Rom-Com as easily as an action flick. I enjoy art-house as much as grindhouse. I’ll give anything a fair shake, but I hate crap. So when my buddy Kevin, who shares a similar, perhaps even more rabid flair for cinema, told me Drive was the best movie he’d seen all year, the fiancé and I decided to split the bill on dinner and a movie Friday night.

I thought it was another Fast and the Furious cash cow, but it’s not. They’re just selling it totally wrong. What you see in the trailers is really the backdrop for the main character. The plot evolves into a violent, romantic tragedy delivered in this moody, nuanced tone that calls to mind a litany of influences within a style entirely its own. It’s visually compelling, performances are stellar all around, and punctuating it all is the eeriest score since Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (composed by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood; Drive’s composer: one-time Red Hot Chili Pepper Cliff Martinez who also composed Pump Up the Volume, the movie that made me want to be a DJ).

The title song, “Nightcall” is by French house DJ Kavinsky and features Lovefoxxx, a Brazilian indie singer of German, Portuguese and Japanese decent. She delivers breathy, surfer chic vocals over a slow, haunting synth beat that totally captures the pace and cadence of the film. “Under Your Spell” by Desire, a producer-drummer-singer trio, evokes similar notions with a bit more rising action and even more melancholy. It’s a strange amalgamation of electro-synth-pop on Ambien and coke. Also heard in the film, “A Real Hero” by College featuring Electric Youth, which reminded me instantly of “Mouthful of Diamonds” by Phantogram; both are great tunes.

If you haven’t heard of any of these artists, you aren’t alone. Kevin said he might go buy the soundtrack, something he hasn’t done in a long time. I plan to dig a little deeper into their respective bodies of work, first, maybe go scavenging through iTunes or Grooveshark before I make a purchase. We can agree on one thing, however: Drive is the best movie of 2011.

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