I did two commendable things yesterday. The first was seeing Nicolas Refn’s “Drive” and the second was actually lifting some weights at the gym with the help of a friend (currently anticipating bodily pain in the next couple of days). So, yeah. Let’s just talk about “Drive” since that’s the more interesting bit.
A piece of work, this film is. Drenched in shadows and neon, we’re given a tense tour of the dodgy regions of LA, where grit is glam and blood is currency. “Drive” speeds us through heists, the relentless pursuit of interests and the nasty means people resort to in order to get what they want. Enter The Nameless Driver (Ryan Gosling) and the gear shifts to five.
“Put him behind the wheel and there’s nothing he can’t do,” says Shannon (Bryan Cranston) in the film. If only I was wise enough to take that as a foreshadowing of this laconic hero. But I stuck around - not by choice but by helpless engrossment. Gosling’s character is a man of limited words but his eyes, smirk and deeds bare more soul than speech can if speech tried.
I personally fancy the theme - the effective cinematography, Irene’s smile (bless your classic features, Carrey Mulligan), the cars and of course, the scorpion jacket.
I should probably get one for myself. Regarding the score, Cliff Martinez’s atmospherics and beats, reminiscent of Eno’s “furniture music” and Kraftwerk’s robotics, felt like ectoplasm that glued everything together. Being unabashedly a retromaniac, I’ve integrated The Chromatics, Lovefoxxx, Desire and co. into my playlist as well.
I was on the edge of my seat for the most of the film, in frozen anticipation of what the heck was going to happen next. Chances are, you’ll be doing the same once you see this one. An occasional dose of adrenalin is good. The rush makes you feel alive and that’s exactly what this motion picture will put you through.
“Drive” is a work of art whose style and substance occasionally overtake each other in their own car chase throughout the film. Utilising the strength of its cast and the power of good old-fashioned suspense, it slows down for nobody. If you’re up for the ride, strap yourself in. Do not panic. You’ll be running the red light. 4/5.
ϟ Ode to Q (and to Reading)
This afternoon, I came by and purchased an issue of Q Magazine featuring Brandon Flowers of The Killers on the cover. This counts as a wee personal milestone because it’s an addition to my collection of musical-heroes-on-magazine-covers.
On the honor roll: Chris Martin of Coldplay, Matthew Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard of Muse, Tom Meighan and Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian. They all just happened to appear on Q. (Pun intention: Ambiguous? Androgynous?)
I love reading. When I’m not caught up listening to music or slaving over art-to-album assignment, I’m probably absorbed in a book, website or magazine. (Well, I can do all of these at the same time. I mean, multitasking is a skill that university mercilessly taught us, right?) I could be taking in Hawking’s explanation for Space and Time Warps, analyzing Izhaki’s diagram of effects sends and returns in a mixing console or trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the last Foo Fighters record got a measly 6.4/10 rating on Pitchfork.
Anyway, back to Q. I gain a sense of cultural relief or security (if such a thing even exists) when I know I’ve got an issue lying close by. I make a reach for it each time I get the urge to update or inform my musical taste and climate (if that exists as well), and will persist on doing so especially in the absence of the Internet. So yeah, I guess I’ll end here. Cheers to culture and reading.
I have finally seen it. Written by Mike Cahill and Brit Marling (directed by the former and stars the latter), “Another Earth” layers and juxtaposes drama, romance, philosophy and science fiction in this slow burner of an introspective film. AE launches you to the stars after pulling you down to heavy depths.
What I love about this film is its angle. The science isn’t so much the message as it is the medium: it serves as the canvas from which the narrative comes alive. Anything geeky is touched upon sparingly. Unlike your run-of-the-mill sci-fi flick, “Another Earth” banks heavily on emotions and dialogue. Its storytelling is grounded on a profoundly personal level, and there lies the strength of the movie.
Another point of interest are the philosophical-ethical issues raised in the context of encountering our “Earth 2” counterparts in the flesh. I’ve always wondered how I’d react to meeting the Ace Libre from another planet or universe. How about you? To fuel your thoughts, a passage:
“Maybe the most mysterious of all is neither the small nor the large: It’s us, up close. Could we even recognise ourselves? And if we did, would we know ourselves? What would we say to ourselves? What would we learn from ourselves? What would we really like to see if we stand outside ourselves and look at us?”
The only thing otherworldly about the movie is the part where a “second” planet Earth is made to appear right next to ours in the solar system, which is outrageous. That aside, “Another Earth” is a humanising piece of work. Treat it with patience and you will be rewarded. It will touch you, move you and have you shiver if you’re lucky. Weaving together the essentials with understated virtuosity, AE probes an entity as strange as the universe itself: the human soul. 4/5.
The Whirlpool Galaxy, taken by the Hubble Telescope. It has two prominently swirling arms, both of which are filled with star-creating gases. This grand beauty is 31 million light years away. It shatters my heart to know that no human being will be flying there anytime soon. What a sight. How could one not be moved by such magnificence?