A guy and his car Sunday, September 18, 2011
‘Drive’ a stylish blend of film noir, romance, hyper-violence
rive” is strange. And in a cinematic world bursting at the seams with cookie-cutter plots, remakes and sequels, that’s a compliment of the highest order. From the hot-pink cursive opening credits to the Michael Mann-inspired masculine melancholy to the strippeddown gore celebrated by Quentin Tarantino, “Drive” DOMINIC stylishly BAEZ coalesces At the Movies genres into a violent film noir with a splash of romanticism. Amid the ’80s electronic pop pulsating through the background, laconic wheelman Driver (Ryan Gosling) slowly, methodically enters the scene, reciting his five-minute rule: Criminals have his loyalty for that length of time. After that ... In a brilliant opening scene, Driver — because he’s never given a proper name — and his car (this time, a late-model silver Chevy Impala) navigate through Los Angeles, idiot burglars in tow, gliding past obstacles and alternating between accelerating and hitting the brakes at a tempo matching the tension-in-
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ducing soundtrack. It’s like watching a virtuoso at work. Danish-born director Nicolas Winding Refn (“Bronson,” “Valhalla Rising”) deserves credit here, too, having produced the coolest movie around and adding another hit to his list of cult-followed films. Driver, a stoic man of few words and even less background, possesses otherworldly skills behind the wheel, which, along with being the getaway driver, he uses to drive stunt cars for movies. There’s even a point where he may have a future on the racing circuit. That’s what his employer Shannon (Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”) would like to think, anyways. But to meet that end, he has to persuade some local mobsters (Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks) to loan him the money needed to finance both the car and the dream to speed away from their film noir existence. Fate, however, has a different track for these men. Driver slowly develops feelings for his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan, “An Education”) and her young son, Benicio (Kaden Leos), which ignites the film’s dramatic tension, as Irene is married to an incarcerated man. Upon his return, Standard (Oscar Issac, “Sucker Punch”) gets wrenched back into his life of crime in a way that requires Driver to
AP photo by Film District, Richard Foreman
Ryan Gosling, left, and Carey Mulligan are shown in a scene from “Drive.” spill copious amounts of blood and brain matter in true “Kill Bill” fashion. Vendettas abound, with money and ill-fated honor seeping into the stinging betrayals. But there is one scene of near-domestic bliss, with Driver taking Irene and her son on a cruise along a concrete culvert, “Grease”-style. It’s both simplistic and sleek, binding you tighter to the makeshift family while eliciting a sense of foreshadowing of what’s to come. “Driver,” at its core, is an exercise in mashup. Gosling’s high-pitched voice and soft face engender smiles, even when he curb-stomps enemies into a bloody pulp. He’s a man of few words and emotions, constantly surveying his surroundings, but
Fighting against the status quo BOOK REVIEW
“The Investigation of Pepe Chavez et al: How Presidential Task Force NW-OR-001 Challenged Conventional Drug Investigation Methods,” by Ray Tercek. © 2011, Ray Tercek Books. Trade paperback, 351 pages. Retail $17.99. n the early 1980s, drug investigations in the Portland Police Bureau followed traditional buy-bust methods of catching and arresting drug dealers. It worked to get dealers off the streets for short stints, but did little to slow down the traffickers who were bringing more and more drugs into the Northwest. At the same time, Jose Carlos “Pepe” ChavezVernaza, a native of Peru, was riding high as one of RENEE the PortS TRUTHERSland area’s HOGGE biggest
Books suppliers of cocaine. He imported high-quality product from sources in South America and sold it to associates who would cut it 40-60 percent with various substances and then sell to street dealers. Everyone made a hefty profit, and Chavez made no secret of his success. But Portland police had been unsuccessful in pinning anything on Chavez, and was able to flaunt his wealth while staying one step ahead of the law. Sgt. Ray Tercek, newly transferred to the Drugs and Vice Division, was frustrated with the miniscule progress the Portland bureau was making with the drug traffickers, and wanted the authority to try something new. With the help of local, county, state and federal law enforcement, Tercek began the first long-term drug trafficking investigation in the Portland bureau’s history. Along the way, Tercek would have to contend
with not only the seedy underbelly of the Northwest drug trade but resistance within his own bureau. Superiors and team members alike were hesitant to move away from the buy-bust tactics, and chafed at the seeming lack of progress of the investigation. In the end the team enjoyed a modicum of success, but the investigative techniques pioneered by Tercek and his team members changed the way major drug trafficking cases are handled today. Tercek served 31 years in law enforcement, 21 of those with the Portland Police Bureau. His “memoir” of the Chavez case is jam-packed with information about the law enforcement teams, the drug dealers and Chavez himself, gathered during the two-years investigation. Extensive interviews
with Chavez’s network yield an inside look at the day-to-day realities of the drug trafficking world, and Tercek’s casual style makes the book quite accessible. However, Tercek’s liberal use of law enforcement terms and acronyms sometimes muddied the chapters devoted to the police team and slowed the otherwise breakneck pace of the book. All in all, it was a book that I couldn’t put down, and I was rooting for Tercek and his crew the whole way. Renee Struthers-Hogge is the editorial assistant for the East Oregonian. While she prefers to focus on authors, publishers and subject matter relevant to the Pacific Northwest, she enjoys a wide variety of genres and welcomes suggestions for new review material.
75 Years Ago From the East Oregonian Sept. 18, 1936 The “Show Boat” soil conservation program will be given at Tillicum Grange tomorrow night at 8 o’clock. The”Show Boat,” the principal feature of which is a motion picture reel showing the various types and stages
of soil erosion, is provided by the educational division of the regional office of Soil Conservation at Spokane. Other parts of the film show soil and water conservation methods successfully demonstrated. Directors of the “Show Boat” say that a comedy will accompany the educational film to add va-
riety to the program. 50 Years Ago From the East Oregonian Sept. 18, 1961 Pendleton girls took the two top spots in the American Beauty contest for Indian girls during RoundUp. Kim Minthorn of the Umatilla tribe was named the winner and Bertha
Photo courtesy of Ray Tercek Books
when Irene and Benicio show up at the garage where he works, a nearly imperceptible smile gives way to something felt. And Mulligan’s doll-like features leave you wondering how she got mixed up in such troubles. Not that’s she really involved in any of it, which is part of the reason Driver descends to such depths to protect her and her son. Refn, who won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel take you to a place you’re not certain you want to go. You’re not sure if Driver is going to drive off into the sunset of this blood-soaked City of Angels or off an oceanside cliff. But it really doesn’t matter. You’ll want to go wherever he takes you.
Box Office Top 5
No. 1 Contagion
No. 2 The Help
No. 3 Warrior
No. 4 The Debt
No. 5 Colombiana
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Four artsy stars out of five.
Dominic Baez is the copy editor/paginator for the East
Oregonian. Follow his movie blog, Silver Screening, for the latest trailers, clips and extras at silverscreening.wordpress.com.
It’s time for sister-in-law to hang sob story out to dry DEAR ABBY
though he’s helpless and me as Dear Abby: My brother “Dan” his equally incapable sidekick. cheated on his wife, “Darlene.” I should have realized there His affair lasted five years bewas trouble when Diana and othfore he dumped Darlene to er in-laws came to visit us on our pursue a relationship with the honeymoon — unannounced and other woman. My problem is, uninvited. When we go to a bufevery time family members infet restaurant, she prepares vite Darlene and her children to plates for him. She tells him be part of an event, we have to what clothes to wear to events listen to her long, drawn-out JEANNE and even irons them for him. She monologue about Dan’s affair PHILLIPS includes our names on cards, with “that woman.” advice gifts, flowers, etc., for which I don’t approve of Dan’s behavior, but I refuse to hate him because we’ve had no input or financial contritheir marriage failed. It was on the bution. Anytime we mention going out of downslide for a long time before the af- town, she attempts to invite her husband fair began. Darlene has spent the last and herself to tag along. Rob and I are responsible adults who four years making sure her kids never see my brother’s new wife or meet their work full time. We have never asked his half-siblings. She talks openly in front of parents for anything. I find her behavior them about how “evil” their father and insulting and intrusive. Even if I want“that woman” are, then invites Dan on ed to wait on my husband hand and foot, family trips, which I’d find confusing if I’d have to beat my mother-in-law to it. I have done everything I can think of I were in their shoes. I don’t want to cut my nieces and to remedy this, from having Rob speak nephews out of my life, because they to her to being frank with her myself. need stability. But I don’t care at this Aside from saying hello when I answer point if I ever see Darlene again. Any the phone, I choose to have no relationsuggestions? I’m at my wit’s end. — Tired ship with her. Am I being overly sensitive, or is Diana overstepping her Of The Sob Story Dear Tired: The reason the No. 1 songs boundaries? — Married To An Only on the charts keep changing is listeners Child In Kentucky Dear Married To An Only Child: If your finally grow bored and stop buying them. The same is true for the “he done description of your mother-in-law is acme wrong” chorus your former sister- curate, she’s the living definition of a in-law keeps repeating. While I mother who can’t let go. Because you and understand her pain and anger, it’s a Rob have spoken frankly to her about shame Darlene hasn’t accepted that she this and her behavior persists, she needs to get on with her life. A step in strikes me as overbearing. By now it should be clear that Diana that direction would be to quit wallowing in the past. Because you can’t control isn’t going to change. Your best reher, when she starts her next refrain, ex- course may be to put geographic cuse yourself. Let her entertain the rest distance between you if and when it’s of the family while you spend quality feasible. Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Butime with your nieces and nephews, and ren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was you’ll all have a better time. Dear Abby: I have been married sev- founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. eral years to an only child. Despite our Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or objections, my mother-in-law, “Diana,” P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © 2011 Universal Uclick continues to treat my husband, “Rob,” as
DAYS GONE BY Today is the 261st day of 2011. There are 104 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Sept. 18, 1961, United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold was killed in a plane crash in northern Rhodesia. On this date: In 1759, the French formally surrendered Quebec to the British. In 1793, President
George Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol. In 1810, Chile made its initial declaration of independence from Spain with the forming of a national junta. In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which created a force of federal commissioners charged with returning escaped slaves to their owners.
Today’s Birthdays: Comedian-actor Jason Sudeikis (TV: “Saturday Night Live”) is 36. Actress Sophina Brown is 35. Actor Barrett Foa is 34. TV personality Sara Haines is 34. Thought for Today: “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.” — Chinese proverb. ©2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
DAYS GONE BY Carter of the Umatilla and Nez Perce tribes was second in a field of 16 contestants. Miss Carter was also a Happy Canyon princess for the night pageant. 25 Years Ago From the East Oregonian Sept. 18, 1986 Some changes may be
around the bend for horse racing at the Pendleton Round-Up following a rash of injuries resulting from racing accidents last week. Five people were hospitalized as the result of injuries received during the races and one person remains in serious condition. Another person, a spectator, was in-
jured by a horse being led into a race. Members of the Round-Up Board of Directors have said the races will be discussed at their next meeting. Several directors have suggested implementing some type of screening so that only good, experienced riders are allowed in the races.