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Lee Marvin

Well, jeez, I don’t know. I didn’t like Drive, but maybe you will. It’s one of those movies that pushes everybody out into the open, as far as their own biases and personal film hang-ups and all. How you feel about genre film vs. art film, and violence onscreen, and the uses of film noir, and the American vs. the European film traditions, and Ryan Gosling, all those things will decide how you react to Drive.

Take the violence, for example. It didn’t seem like much to me, but critics are really going on about it. There’s a face-stomping death in an elevator, but you don’t really see it so much as hear it, and there are heads exploding with gunshot wounds into aestheticized blood-spray, but nothing to write home about if you’ve ever seen Japanese or Hong Kong action films. There’s a lethal razor cut, and frankly I was surprised how much I didn’t feel that, because razors fill the imagination if you handle them right. Something about the way they lift that little papery top-layer of skin separately and smoothly, and then the thin line of blood starts to appear…only that doesn’t get shown in the film. Just one fast slit in long-shot and it’s done. Plus there’s a fork stuck into an eye that’s just plain silly.


September 17th, 2011 | Comments (20)


There’s a shootout at the Guggenheim Museum in the middle of The International that’s about as cheery a spectacle as an action film can offer. One minute a cathedral hush prevails in Frank Lloyd Wright’s creamy architectural spiral, and visitors…

February 15th, 2009 | Comments (7)