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September 19, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-19

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, September 19, 2011 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, September 19, 2011 - 7A

French flick on 'Point'

"Wait, so ... I can turn left from Packard to Hill, but not Hill to Packard? That's messed up."
'Drive' hits

Gosling the hero
in slow-burning
action film
Daily Arts Writer
"Drive" star Ryan Gosling
has a face fit for a superhero -
appropriately, the 31-year-old
and "Blue
has made a Drive
career out of
playing the At Quality16
good guy. The and Rave
gentle, quiet FilmDistrict
approach to his
roles has made
him a subtle director's dream
and a teenage girl's sweetheart,
combining to create one of the
most legitimate, marketable
stars of our time. "Drive" is no
different, but it takes the actor
deeper into the introvert that
his pensive, seemingly unfet-
tered visage perpetually guards.

Gosling plays the Driver -
our unnamed action-over-talk
stunt driver protagonist who
doubles as a freelance getaway
man for heist jobs. Much like
Jason Statham's turn as Frank
in the "Transporter" series,
Gosling's Driver is a structured,
my-way-or-the-highway dude
who keeps his mouth shut just
about all the time. The very
first scene of the film shows him
drive a getaway Chevy Impala
for a pair of thieves, maneu-
vering through downtown Los
Angeles, alternating between a
police frequency and a Clippers
game radio broadcast.
We soon get to know the Driv-
er outside of his criminal acces-
sory role - he's a quiet stunt
driver who works in a repair
shop and is on the verge of
becoming a stock car driver for
a couple of L.A. businessman/
thugs (Albert Brooks, "Find-
ing Nemo" and Ron Perlman,
"Hellboy"). He meets his neigh-
bor Irene (Carey Mulligan, "An
Education") and her son Benicio
(newcomer Kaden Leos). Irene's

husband Standard (Oscar Isaac,
"Robin Hood") is in prison, and
in his stead the Driver quickly
assumes a protective role over
mother and child.
When Standard is released
from jail, our protagonist's con-
flict kicks in - Standard can't
escape from his past, particu-
larly his past creditors, and that
same past threatens to come
after Irene and Benicio. The
Driver befriends the father -
despite his affections for his
wife - and chooses to help him
do a job and get the money he
needs. And as one might expect,
things go wrong. Really, really
wrong. Suddenly, the Driver
becomes the target, running
and driving for his life - and
more importantly, for Irene and
Benicio's lives.
The fascinating transforma-
tion in "Drive" is the Driver's
shift from indifference to pur-
pose - like Travis Bickle (Rob-
ert De Niro) in "Taxi Driver,"
the protagonist in "Drive"
explodes outwards by digging
See DRIVE, Page 8A

DailyArts Writer
"Point Blank," a French film
written and directed by Fred
Cavaye ("Anything For Her")
opens with a
chase scene.
Two hefty
thugs pursue a Point Blank
wounded man
through a clang- At the
ing industrial Michigan.
building, shot in M .
the shaky hand- Matnolia
held style of the
modern gritty action film. After
several tense minutes, the chas-
ers catch up and hold the chasee at
gunpoint, only to watch a speed-
ing motorcycle hit him.
Cut to a hospital room, where
Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche,
"Tell No One") watches his wife
Nadia (Elena Anaya, "Talk to
Her") get an ultrasound. This
marks an abrupt shift in the film's
tone, as the scene is lighthearted
and funny - Samuel is an atten-
tive husband, and the couple is
loving and adorable.
When the first two scenes of
a film portray such disparate
worlds, the audience can be cer-
tain they will collide. And they do.
The chasee from the first scene,
thief Hugo Sartet (Roschdy Zem,
"Days of Glory"), ends up in the
hospital where Samuel works as a
nurse's assistant. Late that night,
a man breaks into the hospital
and attempts to kill the wounded
Sartet, only to be saved at the last
minute by Samuel. Here, only a
few minutes into the film, is where
the action begins - and it never
lets up.
The next morning Samuel
is attacked by a gunman in his
apartment, and his pregnant
wife is kidnapped. He is ordered
to break Sartet out of the hospi-
tal by noon, or his wife will be
murdered. This leads Samuel on

How many Frenchmen does it take to resurrect CTools?

a thril
ney thr
wife, w
suit an
but me
film co
cuts; s
of viol
And w
not wh
tion. E
what t
the file
and the
as if "P
than to

ling and dangerous jour- But however manipulated
'ough Paris in search of his the audience may feel, the film
uith the police in hot pur- is intensely realistic. The story,
d flanked by the reticent though improbable, seems like it
nacing Sartet. could realistically happen. And
nt Blank" is as consistently the violence, instead of being
and exciting as an action stylized and glamorized like
an be. There are jarring many recent action films, is life-
udden, unexpected bursts like. There are certainly shocking
ence; plenty of narrative moments, and the film is not for
and turns and never a dull the faint of heart; but this is not
t. In this film, it feels like just brutality for its own sake, and
ngcouldhappenatanytime. the violence is never overly gratu-
hat does happen is usually itous,just unflinching and raw.
at one would expect. As"PointBlank"progressesand
Samuel gets closer to his wife and
develops a friendship with Sartet,
:I am le tired they begin to uncover a labyrinth
of violence and corruption in the
f le chase police force. As the film builds to
a chaotic climax, we experience
everything from Samuel's point of
view, so the audience is mercifully
h of the film's tension is saved fromexposition. Rather, the
I from misdirection. Just filmmakers use action to drive the
it is apparently becoming story forward, all the way to the
able, the film yanks the thrilling, satisfyingconclusion.
ce in an unexpected direc- While the emotional narrative
ven minute details aren't is fairly one-dimensional and most
hey seem. But sometimes of the characters are never fully
mmakers get carried away, developed, the simplicity serves
misdirection seems forced, this fast-paced story well. "Point
'oint Blank" is trying to be Blank," at a brisk 84 minutes, is
ing for its own sake rather pure entertainment and makes for
develop the narrative. an exciting cinematic experience.

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