Curious Pink

A healthy percentage of the HE community has now seen Drive. How did the “room” feel as you watched it? (I’d especially like to hear from people outside the NY-LA sphere on this one.) Is it too artsy-chilly Scandinavian to connect with Joe Popcorn, or could Joe be in the mood for this kind of thing right now? Were any over-45 couples in attendance?

  • actionman

    I am going this morning, so I doubt there will be too many people at a CT Sunday morning show. All the better too. I hate other people in movie theaters (for the most part).

  • Kakihara

    Too many effing a-holes who had their damned cell phones on and walking back and forth casually trying to pretend they weren’t interrupting the screening.

  • shanes5

    At least 50% of our crowd was 45-up and they seemed to enjoy it the most. Two couples walked out separately (very early on)–both in their 20’s.

  • RFignolia

    Catched it this Friday in Montreal and fellow attendants were clearly in the mood for the film, they had been waiting for it for a few weeks, as did I.

    I think I was pretty much in the minority in being dissapointed by the film (too affected, cold and twee), but some people 45 y.o. + walked away from their seats angrily as the closing titles dropped.

    This is going to be a cult film for some, but never a cross over hit.

  • hollywoodtease

    I saw it Friday 7 pm showing to a crowd of about 50 people. Saw 2 single people walk out. Crowd was mostly under 45, but best part was when I was walking out two women age 23 -28 were talking how they thought it was going to be about Gosling turning into a NASCAR driver.

  • Alex Stroup

    Saw a Friday evening showing at a multiplex in one of the far Bay Area suburbs.

    I’d say the theater was 75% full. There was a couple to my immediate left but they were in their 30s. In front of me was two couples where the men were father/son. The son was in his 30s, dad and mom in their ’60s. Across the aisle was a large mixed-gender group (maybe 12 people in six 2-seat rows above the door). I’d say they were in their 40s.

    Do not recall there being much in the way of teens in the audience at all.

    As for the vibe, the audience was definitely completely on board until the end, audibly responding (appropriately) to the violence and quiet when they should be quiet.

    Then the ending left a lot of people confused about what happened and some grumbling but what I was hearing was “great movie until that point.”

  • hollywoodtease

    Follow up. I’m in the Midwest by the way. My 60+ yr old Mom saw it too and love it. She probably has a more open mind to the “indie” movies than most her age. My guess is that this movie will not do that great in the smaller markets. The 80s synth music and pink lettering still ruined an otherwise fresh, enjoyable movie for me.

  • adorian

    Rural Oklahoma here. Twenty-two people at the first showing, everyone above 50. There was a lot of groaning and gasping at the violence, but a lot of approval of the fast driving techniques.

    The head-stomping scene got a lot of groans. People got quite caught up in the story, although I heard a few people asking each other for an explanation about what happened at the very end.

  • Indeed

    Here in Chicago, rode in the elevator with a nice older (65+ couple).

    “What are y’all seeing?” with a thick southern accent, the gentleman asked.

    He was wearing a spiffy suit jacket with Gucci loafers.

    They ended up in the same theater as us. 75% full, mostly 30+ with a few 50+ couples sprinkled.

    Passed by them on the way out. They both loved it. Meanwhile, a younger guy in an Affliction shirt was walking ahead of us alone (which I thought was odd). Once we exited the theater he approached his girlfriend who was sitting on a chair outside.

    “Traumatized?” he asked.

    “I couldnt watch that anymore.”

    Long story short: old southern people got it. Young city crowd didnt.

  • Movie Watcher

    I thought it was Drive, not Semi-Drive. It was ok, but I expected more action, you know, the kind where people ‘drive’. Brooks/Perlmen/Cranston were great. The girl form Mad Men, since I’ve never seen the show, I thought she was good.

  • Movie Watcher

    I mean ‘from’, I screwed up.

  • Doghouse Reilly

    NY sphere here, and I’ll admit I was disappointed. Having read the script, I feel like a lot of the precision of the driving/chase sequences was already there, and so while it’s nice to see a film that plays a little classical in sequences, Refn made it feel small and affected — all the coincidences of the story make it feel miniature and derivative. And Gosling gives off nothing. It was cool and all, but just a little lifeless.

    I was in the minority though. Young crowd last night was jazzed before and stuck with it all the way.

  • JR

    My wife and I are in the 50+ crowd, and we both loved it. There were others in our age group, but we saw lots of young females, in small groups, obviously there for “the guy from The Notebook.” I could not really gauge the younger crowd reaction, but I did not sense they were enthusiastic – heard lots of gasps during the elevator scene – god we loved that scene, especially when you hear the skull give way…and it was preceded by that fabulous kiss…loved the incongruence of the scene.

    Afterwards my wife commented it reminded her of the violence in Goodfellas, a movie we both revere. The direction and pacing reminded me somewhat of The American, a film we loved but Joe Popcorn hated with a passion.

    I rate this one of the top 5 films I have seen this year, along with Midnight in Paris, Hanna, Jane Eyre, and Beginners.

  • raygo

    My 10:45 pm screening in Pittsburgh was about half full, which I thought was ok for that late. Audience was definitely into the movie, lots of shocked reactions & moderate laughter at some of more graphic beat-downs. I really liked it. It was a great star turn, much like Richard Gere in American Gigolo. Carrey Mulligan was very effective. The cast was uniformly great. I can see Brooks in the Oscar race. I wasn’t expecting the slower pace, but I thought it work. A mood piece for sure.

  • gradystiles

    I keep seeing comments on various websites regarding people being confused by the ending. What is there to be confused about? It seems pretty simple to me.

  • Chase Kahn

    Personally, you all are hard to please. I thought this was one of the best pure genre thrillers of the last decade or so. Quaint and mean, chic and muscular. Love Gosling here and the filmmaking is impeccable if you ask me. How can the same people who eat up Tarantino call this “affected” and “twee” – give me a break, shut up.

    As for audience response, I’m in Dallas here, saw it twice in the last few days. Matinee audience of Friday was all elderly people and they didn’t respond to it whatsoever.

    Yesterday, I saw it at AMC Northpark (definitely a high-to-middle class section of North Dallas and the crowd was comprised of mostly 40-and-upers who were with it way more than Friday’s crowd. Lots of chuckles, devilish hoots at the violence, quiet in the right places, etc, etc.

    As for people bewildered by the ending…what the fuck? Do you need your hand held a little more tightly? Really? Refn even included a couple of extra shots to smooth things over…

  • Chase Kahn

    @gradystiles – Thank you, stole my thunder. There’s nothing incompetent, ambiguous or bewildering about the ending other than meaningless minutia .

  • Dance Commander

    Louisville KY here. Saw an early Friday showing which would be sparse anyway but there were about 8 people. No one got up and left.

  • cyanic

    My mother enjoyed it. She gasped at the violence and I started to turn away from the screen when he confronts Cook in the strippers’ dressing room.

    If anyone walked out during the movie I didn’t notice because they weren’t drawing attention to themselves or making noise. The entire place was quiet except during the violent scenes.

    Nobody clapped at the end.

    I’m mostly glad no cell phone lights are interruptions during my screening.

  • lbeale

    Saw it here ijn Raleigh, 2 p.m. Friday show. Crowd was mixed age-wise, but the response seemed muted. I think the European pacing of the film put them off a bit.

    And my wife reported overhearing three women in the rest room who obviously came for Ryan Gosling, and wondered why he didn’t get the girl at the end.

  • The Mean Freaks

    Saw if Friday night here in Phoenix, packed house–audience was super-engaged, gasping & laughing in all the right places. Very quiet and respectful otherwise. As I walked out though I did hear this from the 40-ish ladies in front of me:

    “Shoulda seen Lion King 3D.”

    “Yeah, but it was sold out!”

  • BoulderKid

    Went to a Friday night show at a Philly theater. The screening only had about twenty people in it. On the way out I heard a thirty something guy say to his girlfriend, “why’d we pay for that.” It wasn’t the best gauge of the movie’s public appeal because the theater was in a rougher South Philly neighborhood. I’m sure it played a lot better at the Center City art houses.

    As for the film itself, I found it tremendously entertaining in a cool breezy kind of way. I don’t know if it’s as good as the critical community has advertised. I would need to see it again before passing judgment as the whole thing kind of washed over me initially but I’ve been constantly thinking about since I saw it.

    I don’t really get the whole Brooks awards play. His character’s dialogue stood out in an overly showy way compared to the other characters who were more organic. Of the supporting performances, I thought Craynson (sp?) was the best. His character projected a lot of warmth towards the Driver in their limited scenes that I wasn’t really expecting in a movie like this. It was the thing that most distinguished Drive from a movie like to Live and Die in L.A. which was so much bleaker and nihilistic than what Refn was doing here.

    Gosling was magnetic, and even if this doesn’t rocket him to some sort of Cruise like status, the movie shows more so than anything that he’s done that he’s the premier young and charismatic star of this generation along with perhaps DiCaprio.

  • citizenmilton

    The vibe in Houston TX – 8pm Friday screening – was (mostly) with the movie. I could sense a lot of “this isn’t what we were expecting, but we’re going along with what it is.”

    They were riveted by the opening sequence, and the pawn shop gunshots and subsequent violence created the biggest genuine shock/surprise/jumping-in-seats that I’ve ever seen.

    Only drawback – a good portion of the audience seemed disappointed that the ending didn’t follow the protaganist-kill-opponent/utters-memorable-catchphrase pattern.

  • Movie Watcher

    The problem with the ending…how did he survive the knife wound? After that he just sat there and then drove off. Wow, miraculous recovery!

  • Gaydos

    “Reservoir Dogs” opened to about $150,000.00 20 years ago, on its way to a final $2.8 million US theatrical gross.

    Whatever it ultimately grosses and whether or not it achieves profitability, two decades of movie and videogame ultraviolence and a multitude of films with an indie attitude have made the terrain for “Drive” much friendlier!

  • cyanic

    You can survive a knife wound. The thing is how the director showcase the violence that makes us believe he should’ve died from the single stabbing he got.

  • notjon

    @Movie Watcher, true but, and I may be wrong, didn’t the show of Irene knocking on his door and him not coming out imply that he didn’t drive off for long. In my view, that recovery and exit were only as “miraculous” as the one at the end of Shane.

    Saw the movie in New York with a bunch of 20-somethings. They all talked about how the movie wasn’t anything like what they expected but that they loved it anyway.

    The theater seemed very onboard. Huge audience reactions from every violent scene (enormous gasps when he put the bullet against Cook’s head and raised the hammer) and well as big, seemingly appreciative laughter during some of the more stylized moments like Driver giving Benicio a tooth pick.

    I did though hear a couple of young people on the way out who weren’t thrilled. “Well, it’s perfect if you want to listen to 80s music for an hour and a half!”

  • K. Bowen

    1) I like the film generally, but don’t love it.

    2) The film starts strongly as a gritty urban thriller/drama, with an interesting relationship and triangle. After the heist goes wrong, it subtly transforms into a comic book, and gets kind of silly at parts. I could never enirely feel comfortable with that unevenness.

    3) As we were discussing in yesterday’s thread, how doe everybody turn out ot be a killer, and not just a killer, but an expert at it? And why do they all just straight for the gun or the knife in the most basic way?

    4) For being a critical favorite, it’s kind of an empty film. For all the wrongheaded criticisms lobbed by some critics at The Tree of Life that it’s pretentious, all style, etc, all those apply easily to Drive. All Drive is really offering is a thin spread of designer fatalism. That’s a nice bonus for an action film, but I don’t understand why critics are going gaga about it.

    5) Along those lines, Drive is similar to Tony Scott’s Man on Fire, but Man on Fire is a better film with a lot more to say.

    6) Gosling is very, very good. As an actor he really missed his best window around The Notebook and Half-Nelson to be doing what .Christian Bale is doing now. Maybe this will help push him into that territory. But the contentions that he’s the “movie star of the moment” are giving me headaches. It’s unfair, but he’s still “The Guy from The Notebook” in the mind of most moviegoers.

    7) I bag on Mulligan around here regularly, but that has to do with the misperception in the film blogosphere that she’s some kind of star. She remains a very good actress. She’s perfect for this role in that she conveys a lot with small facial gestures. That said, I had a little bit of trouble buying her as a down-and-out Angeleno.

    8) Obviously, the first scene is awesome.

  • lipranzer

    Saw a Friday morning matinee in New York City, and I’d say the theater was about half to 2/3rd full; I’m in my early 40’s, and that was probably the average age of people there. I was sitting near the front, so I didn’t notice any walkouts (there was one person I thought might be a walkout, but turns out he just was on a bathroom break or something like that), and from the reactions to some of the scenes, I’d say they were mostly into it. As for myself, I liked the first 2/3 of so, but then I thought Refn let his self-indulgent tendencies show through, and the movie became irritating to me. I did like the acting, and Gosling and Mulligan worked well together, as did the little boy.

  • York “Budd” Durden

    Saw an 11am matinee here in the south, at an urban multiplex. Older crowd, maybe a third full, not a peep not a cell phone did flash. Usher, a young white male, was asking everyone what they thought (he had an expectant look on his face as though he’d really dug the movie, and reminded me of working the cinemas back in 80s). I heard two different couples say, “I liked it.” He didn’t ask me what I thought.

    Which is… a success on a tonal and aesthetic level, but doesn’t stick the landing on dismount. Agree with whoever said Albert Brooks wasn’t so amazing. Maybe a case of raised expectations. Extra points for the director loving Two-Lane Blacktop as much as I do.

  • Chase Kahn

    “5) Along those lines, Drive is similar to Tony Scott’s Man on Fire, but Man on Fire is a better film with a lot more to say.”

    I’m curious, what does “Man on Fire” really say? It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but all I really remember is a two-and-a-half hour exercise in Tony Scott’s snap-zooms and grain-and-subtitles with a sweet tale of redemption.

  • Mark

    I love how Jeffrey never let up on Inglorious Basterds for the baseball bat scene, yet that scene would be the 3rd or 4th most gratuitous scene in Drive, which he has at No. 1 for the year.

  • AH

    Saw it in Tampa, FL on Sunday, 18 Sept. The theater was half full and the crowd was an equal mix of over and under-45s. No walkouts, some gasps at the violence. Overheard conversations between two couples and both men liked it more than the women.

    I thought it was a phenomenal movie, especially since it stays with you after it ends. Definitely a star-making turn for Gosling. Having said that, i am pretty sure that seeing it for a second time would highlight how slow it actually is. Its like going to great restaurant for dinner, you enjoy the great food and the atmosphere but can’t do it all the time because, most times, you just want to eat and move on.

  • Chase Kahn

    “I love how Jeffrey never let up on Inglorious Basterds for the baseball bat scene, yet that scene would be the 3rd or 4th most gratuitous scene in Drive, which he has at No. 1 for the year.”

    The difference is that Eli Roth is fucking punk asshole that you want to castrate with a hack saw in that film and Tarantino plays that scene like we actually give a shit, where as in “Drive,” the violence is key to the character of Driver.

  • SenatorA

    Just got out of 11:30 matinee showing of the film in a Dallas suburb and we were the youngest in the audience (mid 20s). The rest of the audience was well over 50+ and they were quite unprepared for the violence and style of the film. You could tell they appreciated that storyline just not the violence. Several turned heads and gasps during some scenes. Personally I found the film to be outstanding.

  • Chase Kahn

    God dammit! Where is LexG????? I need to read one of his people-who-hate violence are pussies rants…

  • Mark

    You know how The Departed was about Bostonians talking into cell phones, and Invictus was about foreign people watching sports TV? Well Drive is about a white scorpion jacket that gets dirty in slow motion.

  • boldnative

    Sorry, but I agree that the ending is confusing, and I don’t need my hand held at films. I think it’s confusing because it tries to go both ways. Driver dies, and Driver survives. There is an intentional choice to not choose either ending. Or did I miss something? Some small detail? It certainly seemed to me to WANT to be ambiguous, which is pretty much the same as confusing when everything else in the film has been so deliberate.

  • Rashad

    The bat scene in Basterds is fantastic, not only from the buildup, but because it showed a Nazi as the most honorable person in the movie.

    Drive is by far the best of the year. Older white people in NYC couldn’t handle the violence, but the crowd seemed really into it, especially Albert Brooks

  • dino velvet

    Didn’t find any ‘extreme’ reactions at my showing—heard a few ‘whoa!’s at the you know what moments, mixed in with a little bit of laughter.

    FYI it got a Cinemascore of C- , so generally it is not going over well.

  • Rashad

    Yeah, but it’s got a high IMDB score, and high audience scores on both RT and Flixster.

  • dino velvet

    Those are all internet ratings from “film fans” though, who are so into films that they bother to go online and talk about them. Cinemascore is the true Eloi test, taken from people leaving the theatre.

  • gradystiles

    boldnative: He doesn’t die. What is confusing?

  • somethingmore

    7:30pm showing in VA Beach – Theater was a little over 2/3 full. My boyfriend as I are early 30s, most of the theater was under 45, I’d guess. About halfway thru the showing one of the guys said to the other with him (dad and son, I think) that it was going really slow. It seemed like everyone was into it, tho.

    Personally, I loved it. I was so happy to see him in a non-rom com, not because I don’t like them (I do), but it’s so easy to become type-cast and Gosling is a better actor than that. I had no idea what the movie was about, I went for the boyfriend and for Gosling, but I enjoyed it a lot. I loved the style of the movie. I will probably buy it.

  • actionman


    everyone (the 20 or so people) in our theater was over 30 and everyone seemed to either enjoy or actively love it.

    me — i nearly had apoplexy.

  • Colin

    Saturday – 2:10 – Reno

    My girlfriend and I are the youngest people in the audience early 20’s. A majority of the audience is in their 40’s. A few couples in their 60’s.

  • cangefilmfest

    Daville, Va. Small, mixed crowd. A college kid behind me said it was “awesome” and a couple of rednecks in their 30s or 40s said “It never went anywhere” and “waste of money.” I’m thinking a “Cannonball Run”-style blooper reel during the closing credits would’ve helped.

  • Buk94

    I must have seen a different version of the film than K. Bowen. Plenty of the characters were not killers. And plenty of the characters that were killers were hardly experts at it. I can only think of two characters in the entire movie that seemed to be pretty good at killing.

  • Jericho Cane

    Bowen also thought that Brooks should have had a secret villain lair with a shark tank and a torture chamber. But we’re not going to go there again.

    Saw an 8pm Friday screening in Honollulu. A lot of military guys with buzzcuts in attendance, a few middle-aged couples. Theater was about 50% full. No walkouts. Audience was quiet and appreciative until the elevator scene. Skull-crushing got requisite groans, and then when Gosling turns to Mulligan and gives her THAT LOOK, almost everyone exploded into laughter. Maybe it was tension-relieving laughter, or maybe it was the incongruity between the tender kiss and the brutal violence. Brilliant scene.

    Overheard a group of military dudes discussing how Gosling’s character “probably had Aspberger’s Syndrome” and he “totally should have nailed that girl”. Heard a middle-aged Asian couple complaining about the brutaility. Oddly enough the two twentysomething female Gosling groupies who sat next to me seemed to eat it up with a spoon.

  • mina

    Audience was quiet and appreciative until the elevator scene. Skull-crushing got requisite groans, but best part was when I was walking out two women age 23 -28 were talking how they thought it was going to be about Gosling turning into a NASCAR driver.

  • AtticusRex

    Hey, I already brought this up in an earlier post on this movie but no one responded…

    I read the novel and loved it and am wondering how close to it the film stays.

    Has anyone read it and seen the movie? If so your take please…

    I am surprised though that no where here or in reviews I’ve read make mention of the novel.

    The end described here seems close to the novel and if you read the novel Driver doesn’t get any girl… for reasons I won’t spoil.

    But the ending was clear on Drivers Fate in the book.

  • Dan Revill

    It wasn’t very busy when I went to see it Friday afternoon. There were a bunch of girls gushing over Gosling but they quieted down once the film started.

    I doubt they liked the film, but they stuck it out.

    On my way out, one young guy was talking to his friend and said, “Kinda boring. Not enough action.”

    As for me, I loved it.

  • cricket

    I just saw it last night at the big Court Street theaters in Brooklyn. If you’ve ever seen a movie there, you know that theater gets some rowdy, heckling audiences. And they were transfixed by Drive. A big collective gasp when the long, frozen shot at the end was broken…

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