ARTYFACTS: October 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tyrannosaur – a dinosaur

Listen, I’m Scottish, but I’m not a violent drunk or dosser. So I’m not often amused to see yet another unshaven, drink-soaked Scot on a cinema screen. Granted Scotland does enough to promote this image of itself, but I’ve had my fill of this stuff.
So I’m not sure that this movie deserves the plaudits it’s received. A grim tale of relentless violence it simply plods, like its main character, through episode after episode of drink, desperation and death. There aren’t any shades of grey, only dull, depressing darkness. Neither does it follow through as tragedy, as the ending is an optimistic afterthought. Granted the performances were good but where was the writing. The characters are class clichés; the drunk Scot, the loquacious Irishman, the thug with dog, the English housewife. Just no surprises.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Drive - nothing to do with cars

He arrives and departs like a comet, enters from whatever darkness he’s come from and speeds off into that blackness when he leaves. Played like an automaton, there are no clues to what’s going on inside his head. He’s at one with the cars he drives, as mindless as a machine, doesn’t do dialogue and has eyes like headlight – he rarely blinks. It’s a little derivative in that No Country From Old Men is the character inspiration, but it works.
This makes the relationship and violence all the more brutal and unexpected. He accelerates from zero to a hundred in the split of a second. The film has a series of harrowing scenes where the violence is pure venom with absolutely no dilution or glamour. Strangely enough, this is what gives the film its tragic depth. He acts in a moral manner but only against those who want to hurt others. Like Frankenstein, he protects those who shows him kindness. But he has to go all the way and they all must die.
This could have been a truly awful car chase movie but it’s the opposite as it has very little to do with cars and everything to do with instinct and ‘drive’. What drives people to be as they are and do what they do? Ultimately, it’s the drive to survive. I know this sounds a little contrived but it I suspect it is an attempt at a tragic metaphor for life itself. He’s born from nothing, gets entangled with the struggle of a family and the brutality of a Hobbesian world, but there’s no real resolution, the struggle continues.