I was reading an article today in an old Elle UK about the big, imagined love that poisons all of your relationships. Since for so many women nowadays that big love is Ryan Gosling (all the guys I know exclaim agressively that they don't understand what the appeal is but I think it's a case of the lady doth protest too much) I thought that I might finally get around to doing that cinematic style that was requested more than a year ago (sorry Bianca!). Ryan Gosling (hey girl!) in Drive.
I remember being so excited about this movie before it even came out. Carey broke up with Shia when she was filming it, and there were all sorts of hilarious, innuendo-driven stories on the Daily Mail about how 'Carey Mulligan turns to Ryan Gosling for comfort after her painful breakup'. I was expecting a Mr and Mrs Smith kind of love story to emerge from the film, which I imagined would be sensual in a slow-burning, Los Angeles kind of way. I guess it was in some sense - they had great chemistry and, well, that kiss, and Carey famously described making the movie as a process of 'staring longingly at Ryan Gosling for 3 months' - but I mean, once you see this you expect just a little bit more when Gosling is involved. I saw the movie by myself at my favourite little cinema, which is a short walk up the top of my street. It was so hot that day and sitting in an air-conditoned cinema with an ice-cold coke seemed like the only viable option. Watching that movie, with the slow, steady movement of the camera, and that dreamy-synth soundtrack went one step better. Even with all the violence, the blood splatters, the fast driving, it was like a swimming in an ice-cold pool in the middle of summer.
This is probably the one film in the entire of the cinematic style series with the least costume changes. The driver goes through a roster of contempo-casual getups - denim jacket, baseball cap, endearingly grubby white tee shirt - until that final look, the one he spends most of the movie in, the silky driving jacket with the diamond quilting and the collar popped, the leather gloves, the sunglasses, all of which become steadily more and more blood-stained and filthy as the film progresses. It's funny because I've always thought Ryan Gosling is a bit of an everyman. He looks like that guy you used to know, he's almost a little bit nondescript, but isn't that what makes him extraordinary? I feel the same about this wardrobe. The whole point is that the driver just slips under the radar. People don't notice him until it's too late. It's almost too much to bear, when it's accompanied by the roar of an engine, or the way he looks at Carey Mulligan. The understatement of the clothes is key. It's almost like anti-costume. The film was hyper-stylish, like hyper-real, but at the same time those simple, understated costumes worked to make the character seem real, even thought he's about the furthest from my own personal experience than almost anything else. I think that's the mark of good, no, great costume design.