This was my favorite film of 2012. And it makes sense in the way that it does, that it won best Director at Cannes, and zilch at the Oscars.
I saw Drive in London last September and was blown away. We were actually in London to screen our own film The Wayshower and I went to see it with our producer Rick Ojeda. We were both blown away. In every possible way.
And while I could write an entire review on the filmmaking brilliance that I appreciate, for me what made this film superior to all other films of 2012, and for me, just so inspiring and transformational, was it’s example of integrity. And of love.
I love extreme characters. My favorite characters of all time would have to include Howard Roark (The Fountainhead), Pollyanna (Pollyanna), Humphrey Bogart’s Rick (Casablanca) and Meryl Streep’s Karen (Out of Africa). I don’t think we often run into such divinely inspired and profoundly strong and authentic human beings. It’s just that we’re human, and as humans we’re here to learn and we do that by making mistakes. We’re here to do the dumb, stupid, lacking things. So that we can learn from those experiences.
But in the movies characters don’t have such human restrictions, and for an hour or two we get to absorb, live and breathe the sweet consciousness of our hero or herion. If we are open, and available to the experience, we get to open and expand our own limitations and perceptions of ourselves and of reality, and to get a closer look at what it is to truly make the choices that take us towards greater good, greater loving, greater humanity.
So what to me was so fantastic in Drive, was the subtle potency of Ryan Gosling’s character, “Driver”. He was far from perfect. He was a criminal. And yet the integrity and alignment with himself and his own truth, inspired me profoundly.
It reminds me of Rumi’s quote “Out beyond the ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
Gosling’s character wasn’t playing the game of the world – following the rules and keeping in line. He was doing what he loved, and within his yes slightly warped take on what was ok and acceptable in his world, he had created his own unique code of goodness, or rightness, and it was something he bound himself to, regardless of the external world, regardless of the hardship or pain he suffered.
He made the tough decisions, the ones we hope that we would have made, and he made it look effortless and without a beat of doubt.
In such an unassuming context we find a hero. A real hero. One that wasn’t perfect in terms of the world. He was human. Very much human. But he was a hero. And that’s why I think this movie has had such a profound effect on me. You can relate to “Driver” because you know he’s not perfect, because we’re not perfect, but he was able to choose the right, loving, integrious choice, and that’s what we yearn for. More than those things that we think we want in our lives, that relationship, that car, that money, that whatever. What we truly yearn for is goodness, is loving, to know that we are one with all things as they should be. And that’s mind blowing and transformational for me.
We each yearn to be our own real hero. And we are. From where we’ve come from, with what we’re dealing with, we are each in our slightly warped series of contexts called our human existence, and yet we have that spark, that love inside of us that propels us to make the right, the good choices every day.
We are each. A real human being. And a real hero.
And lastly I think the other reason this movie got under my skin in such a profound, potent and precious way is the love story. The love. The undying, unimaginable, complete and utter love we see ignite between Ryan and Carey. It’s tangible and yet they’ve shared so few words. You believe he would die for her, and yet we don’t even know his name.
It’s what we all want. Yes we’re here to learn. We’re here to learn how to love. How to love. And how to be loved.
The profound character development and intangible essence of pure unadulterated love between two people that is established is genius, and superior, first-class filmmaking.
How the Academy passed over this film is a testament to what the Oscars seem to be about now. Money. And not art. Or story. Or profoundly great, fantastic, filmmaking.
If you didn’t see this film you must. And if you saw it and loved it, please share this review with others.