Film Squibs: Drive / Moneyball
Autumn. It’s time to stock up on good cheer before the eternal winter sets in. So get out, see some foliage, and take a trip to the theater to improve the quality of your life. This week’s review is a two-fer, so why not watch two movies while you’re at it?
Dir. by Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston
In this riveting, stylish thriller, Ryan Gosling plays the role of the stunt driver/mechanic by day/crime wingman by night with poise and a cool flatness; Carey Mulligan plays the role of the ambiguous love interest with a similar subtlety; and together they nurture an unpredictable undercurrent of suspense. The steady pace of the movie with its outbursts of incredible violence (not a kid’s movie), combined with brilliant lighting makes this movie a unique cinematic experience. Watching this movie was like driving alone late Sunday afternoon after a weekend with my best friends: a bittersweet yet wholly satisfying experience.
Dir. by Bennett Miller
Starring: Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill
In this film adaptation of the bestselling book Moneyball by Michael Lewis, Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland A’s who introduced the use of sabermetrics to change the game of baseball forever. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill do a fantastic job of playing utterly likeable characters, underdogs in an unfair marketplace for players. The dramatic turns combined with the strength of the acting kept the energy of the movie going forward and made it an entertaining watch from beginning to end. A little obviously melodramatic for my taste; and some may say that it oversimplifies the book and the game of baseball—but both are forgivable. It’s interesting to note how the movie adds a dramatic dimension to the spectacle that is Moneyball (quite apart from Billy Beane’s own contribution, I might add) by drawing out the nostalgic love for America’s great pastime amidst the ever-evolving state of the game. I still highly suggest the book if you want an in-depth, witty, and fascinating look at the evolution of baseball. But, even if you haven’t read the book, the movie is a fun, fresh look into the game we all know and love.