Film: How buzz can ruin movies

By Sophie Nikitas

Drive was possibly one of the most hyped movies of this awards season. When it grabbed an early win for best director at Cannes Film Festival, critics zeroed in on it as an underdog Oscar darling. But along with critical devotion came disappointment on the part of many audience members. The film’s action-centric marketing caused many viewers to leave the theater confused and irritated, wondering why there were so few car chases in a movie supposedly about a getaway driver. One woman from Michigan even took her complaints to court, demanding reimbursement for the cost of her ticket, and a change in the movie’s “misleading” advertising. I bought a ticket to Drive while wandering around Manhattan with a friend one day over winter break. We were curious to see what was it about this movie that inspired such varied reactions from its viewers. With a friend’s disdainful review fresh in my mind, I went into the theater with the lowest expectations, and came out delighted with what I had seen. The gory violence, the eighties’ music, the (lack of) dialogue… all of the contested aspects of the film were what I loved about it. Expectations often make it difficult to be objective, especially when the expectations are as high as they were for this movie. If I had seen it having only been exposed to its fantastic reviews and fast-paced trailer, I undoubtedly would have hated the movie. The movie moves slowly, carefully, with bursts of blood and screeching tires that only flash by before returning to sullen looks from Ryan Gosling. But its intentionality is fantastic, if you’re not busy waiting for the next chase scene. refresh –>