Driving me to disappointment.

16 03 2012

Aaron recently asked me what I thought about the movie Drive with Ryan Gosling. It’s arguably artsy but certainly polarizing movie that people either love or hate. Hence, you know, the word polarizing. I hesitated as I answered, “Hmm, yeah I liked it.” An odd response considering I just said people would love it or hate it. We were in the midst of discussing a post on Zary’s blog, pass me the somaNot surprisingly its a far more gooder written thing. He shares with us his top 10 movies of the year of which I admit I have only seen one. This is appealing to me because I really don’t need someone suggesting movies to me which I have already seen.

Anyhow, apparently it sparked something in me about Drive because this morning I woke up and started posting a Facebook status about why I was disappointed in the movie. The status started to ramble (shocking I know) so began typing a Facebook note instead. This grew into a well composed and compelling note that resembled it’s own blog post. Then it occurred to me. I have a blog. Granted it’s neglected and I had to google it just to find where I left it, but I do indeed have one at my disposal. So there we have it, a perfect post and a perfect medium for posting.

Now. Shit.

I made some tea and sat down to formulate a coherent blog post when it occurred to me that it may take up some of my valuable work time so I should finish my work first. 8 hours later the topic isn’t fresh in my head and I just realized I accidentally updated my iPad to iOS 5.1 before saving my note. So instead, you get to read this crap.

I can however recall why I was disappointed in the movie Drive.


Not for intensity or choice of soundtrack but for insulting my intelligence in an auditory fashion. Right from the opening sequence the sound engineer, foley, editor and director began making mistakes that compounded to create this a less than spectacular movie experience for me. Odd considering the attention to detail that garnered Nicolas Winding Refn Best Director honours at Festival de Cannes.

The first jarring speed bump came after Ryan Goslings character (never named) is introduced to his getaway car, the Chevy”most common car in the state” Impala. They draw attention to the car’s blandness with subdued low tone background music, automatic transmission and plain jane road noise then, at the point of escape, the Driver steps on the gas and the car leaps to life. As a standard. As in manual. As in stick shift.

Now, I understand the car was hopped up and the growl of the engine rocketing to life awakens the little race car driver in all of us, but randomly assigning sounds of a manual transmission car to an automatic? Granted that alone is no big deal, but multiple times through this scene the car shifts gears while both of the Driver’s hands are clearly shown on the wheel.

The next driving scene was almost laughable as the Driver guides his Mustang through what seems like a never-ending gearbox. At the point I asked myself, “How many gears does this car have?” I started counting. He’s already on the road going at speed but, one shift, two… I got to eight. Eight gears from the point I started counting, not from when he started accelerating. That’s however many shifts it took him to get to 60mph, then 8 more. Just for point of reference a Nascar race car with 850 Horsepower only has 4 gears. Even the F1 Formula cars at the peak of racing technology only run 6 speed transmissions.

I realize you may think this is trivial, and I know they aren’t saying the car has a magic 15 speed transmission. What I’m saying is they may as well have some lady making vroom-vroom noises as she pushes his car down the road. It’s unrealistic and detracts from the movie.

The hilarity continues as for some reason while being chased on a straight road (in about 11th gear at this point) the driver spins his car around into reverse to get further in front of the pursuer. Then they proceed to throw logic and common sense baby out with the physics bathwater.


The car begins to shift gears in reverse and accelerate away from the bad guys. I’m beginning to suspect Nicolas Winding Refn has never actually sat in a car before. Or he just rides around on his golf cart making motorboat and fighter jet noises.

Now at this point you may be thinking I’m being a little picky. Maybe a little harsh and have unrealistic expectations of sounds in a movie just because I know what a box end wrench looks like. I thoroughly disagree and would suggest that even if you’ve never driven a manual transmission vehicle before you would think something was amiss if your taxi driver started rowing through the gears like he was on the brink of plummeting backwards off a waterfall.

I have to add that any one of these on their own wouldn’t rank as significant but in accumulative fashion the shifting in reverse became the straw that broke the camels back.

I really don’t want to come across as someone who rants because a soldiers boots aren’t period correct for his uniform. That doesn’t bother me and doesn’t detract from the film, but just as a phone ringing in the theatre or someone talking in your ear, any distraction takes you out of the moment. It removes you from the story you were immersing yourself in.

Look we’ve all come to live with, and practically expect the silly things Hollywood does like tires screeching on a dirt road or the goofy punch that sounds like a flyswatter on a blackboard but that doesn’t mean I want that 18 wheeler to sound like a moped. I would just like to see someone respect the audience and put in some effort instead of just punching a button on the console that says “Car noize”.

In conclusion: If you’re waving your hand in front of my face making airplane noises there better be some fucking pudding on that spoon.