“I give you a five minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything happens a minute either side of that and you’re on your own.”
The musical score can either make or break a film. Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive is a perfect example of when a soundtrack brings a film into a whole new realm, a different dimension within which the audience gains a new found appreciation for not just that particular film, but cinematic scores in general. So when Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe announced an upcoming project whereby bright young artists would provide a new musical soundtrack for the award-winning film, he was met with some speculation.
When it was first released in 2011, Drive was hailed as one of the greatest films in modern cinematic history. Director Nicolas Winding Refn received the prestigious Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival, and the film’s sound editors, Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis, were nominated for the Academy Award in Best Achievement in Sound Editing. When the film’s rescore was announced, many fans were perplexed as to why anyone would wish to alter the soundtrack that so many came to know and love- but more importantly, would it work?
With the complete backing of Refn himself, Lowe brought together artists including Bastille, Bring Me The Horizon, and Laura Mvula to put their own spin on Drive, with varying success. CHVRCHES brought their highly popular techno funk rhythms to the opening sequence thanks to their new track ‘Get Away’, perfectly illuminating the enigmatic aura of L.A. at night and enthralling audiences from the get go.
Another highlight came from indie rockers The 1975, who brought their chilled out vibes to an emotionally heart felt scene with new track Medicine. The song expertly captures the essence of the scene; the brief respite for Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan’s characters respectively as they are allowed to escape the melancholy undertones that pervade their everyday lives.
However, some tracks felt very misplaced, failing to find their place in the film’s narrative and serving as a rather unwanted distraction from the true beauty of the film. Simon Neil, known to most as the lead vocalist in rock’s gnarliest Scottish band Biffy Clyro, seemed to overpower the subtlety of the scene with his husky vocals.
Love the updated score or hate it, chances are you will have been reminded why Drive is such a special film.
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Drive, with its original soundtrack, is available to purchase worldwide now.
Words by Sophie