Why did 'Drive' Fail to Connect with Audiences?

I loved Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive, and so did the rest of the film critic community. But the film has thus far failed to connect with audiences. Writers at Salon try to break down why:

People show up expecting a glossy sexy movie about a man driving a car, when in reality it's basically a hyper-violent European art-house movie that offers little in the way of car chases or romance. That's one way of thinking about it, but I honestly think the bigger problem is that this movie is too gut-churningly violent.

5 comments :: Why did 'Drive' Fail to Connect with Audiences?

  1. America loves violence, I think that should be obvious by now. What America does not love though is waiting. We live in a culture where people expect their coffee instantly, their music to come to their iTunes in less than a second, any information on any topic to be at their fingertips, etc. We live in a culture that expects instant gratification. So when you have a scene in which Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan staring at each other for like three minutes, most audiences won't interpret that as a moment of bonding, they'll interpret it as pointless wasted time waiting for something to happen. "Drive" has a lot of scenes in which characters do nothing or stare at each other and proceed to do do nothing. It's the same reason "The American" failed to connect as well. For both "Drive" and "The American" the bad audience reaction is magnified because of trailers that did not accurately convey the style of the movie.

  2. you can just imagine the unhappy hillbillies yelling about too much talkin' after exiting the theatre.

  3. Well I don't know if the content of the movie is to blame it could be just post summer action movie fatigue. Look how poorly both KILLER ELITE and ABDUCTION did this weekend and those movies spent more marketing dollars, had bigger budgets and arguable more a recognizable casts then DRIVE. And given DRIVE only had a 15 million dollar budget and has made 21 million in 2 weeks with just a US release I think in the long run it's gonna be more profitable then the other 2 movies I mentioned.

  4. I think it's clear that the fact of it being a slow paced art house film is by far the decidig factor. I work at a theatre and almost very one who comes out of Drive complains that it was slow and boring. Most mainstream audiences are simply untrained in the art of movie watching. They are there to be entertained on a very base level, and Drive doesn't meet that level at all.

  5. Couple of thoughts on Drive:

    1. This is a movie where the main "star" has headlined maybe two "mainstream" films: the Notebook and Fracture. The rest of his works, are either ensemble (Crazy, Stupid, Love); indie ensemble (Lars and the Real Girl); indie NC-17 (Blue Valentine); indie love story (All Good Things). Honestly, nothing about "starring Ryan Gosling" is going to attract mainstream audiences.

    2. Same kind of analysis for Winding Refn. Its not like he carries mainstream appeal. His last two efforts are Bronson and Valhalla Rising.

    3. I saw this film specifically because of the slashfilmcast and your (Dave Chen's) love of the Pusher Trilogy. A trilogy of movies that isn't on netflix watch instantly, is not available on blu-ray, and you have to search out on amazon prime streaming (which you can only watch on PCs or Roku).

    4. Based on 1-3 above, its not surprise to me why audiences aren't flocking to theatres to see this film. BUT - this does have the potential to be as big as another movie, that came out 10 years ago, which had a budget of $9M and grossed just over $25M domestically - but is "universally' agreed to be a great film: Memento.

    I felt the same way walking out of Drive as I did seeing Memento: It rocked me back into that "oh...ok, yes, this is how film as art is made..." I say, let's see how Drive is perceived three years from now.

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