Blu-ray Review: Drive (2011) Future Shop Exclusive Mondo X SteelBook

This Blu-ray combo-pack reissue is aimed squarely at fans of Mondo's distinctive melding of art and cinema.

By , Columnist

Drive is a movie built on contrasts. This 2011 action film, which stars Ryan Gosling as a mechanic who moonlights as a driver for Hollywood and the criminal underworld, has the stylistic sensibility of a slick indie film. This is evident not least in a low-key build-up that's in no great hurry to get to the crux of the plot. When the tipping point is reached, though, a more direct Tarantino-like vibe takes over with moments of grungy violence that are momentarily graphic and shockingly brutal.

What also stands out is the clever way the script takes genre conventions and twists them in unexpected ways. Gosling's unnamed character is more anti-hero than hero. Yet, when he gets involved with a prisoner's wife (Carey Mulligan), it's a surprisingly reserved affair. While lazily written scripts would waste no time in cutting to a scene of copulation, Drive doesn't even rush to kissing. Moreover, aside from a few suggestive glances and Mulligan copping a feel of the back of Gosling's hand, that is as far as displays of affection go.

DriveBack189.pngIt's when the con becomes an ex-con and comes home that you expect the shooting to start. Indeed, that is the point at which the wheels have started spinning out of control. Yet, it's not because of a clash between rutting males fighting for the right to mate; despite his violent tendencies, the husband unexpectedly welcomes Gosling's character at the family table. What's more, it's the latter's inclination to put the established family unit ahead of his own self-interest that ultimately gets him into trouble. It's also when Drive moves up a gear from understated romantic drama into full-blown revenge thriller. From that point on, you need a strong stomach.

The stylized, indie qualities of Drive make it an ideal choice as the first release in Future Shop's Mondo X SteelBook series. Austin-based Mondo has built its artistic reputation on producing, among other things, original limited edition screen printed posters for classic and recent films and TV shows. It is collaborating with the Canadian retailer to design the art for this Blu-ray Combo Pack series and if Drive is anything to go by, the results will be worthwhile additions to the video shelves of Mondo's fans.

The graphic design of the Mondo X SteelBook for Drive, which is the work of Mondo favorite Tyler Stout, is characterized by sharp lines that are entirely in keeping with the film's hard edge. The cold and unforgiving effect this produces in conjunction with a limited color palette and the steel substrate aligns effectively with the film's moral ambiguity and the brutal ruthlessness of some of its characters.

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The emphasis on pink throughout is presumably a reference to the coloring of the film's opening titles and end credits. It is also used to good effect in the front cover image to subtly reference the movie's violence and hint at its film noir allegiances. That front image is busy, cramming in all the major characters and stark references to its setting. There is similar artwork across the entire inside cover, while the discs themselves are designed like classic speedometers, reflecting the driver's need for speed. In contrast, the back cover is all black except for the pink silhouette of the scorpion that symbolizes Gosling's character.

Future Shop has additional titles in its Mondo X SteelBook series coming next year. If the designs suit the subject matter as well as Mondo's work for Drive, future entries should produce a satisfying collection for fans of unconventional movies and film art.

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Future Shop's exclusive Mondo X SteelBook Blu-ray Combo edition of Drive includes Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Copy versions of the film. It was released on December 2, 2014.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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