Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: There Are No Clean Getaways

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Looking back at what I started with this succession of memory dumps, I realized the remembrances shouldn’t be limited to the distant past. However, the film watching experience still had to be memorable. This need was solved by two recent, connected instances: what happened last weekend and coming across two reviews by blogging colleagues. Jeremy Richey’s remarkable post on the movie at hand really connected:

The Loneliness of the Short Distance Driver: Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011)

“Every time I go to the movies I hope and pray that I will come across a new film that moves me as much as my favorites from the seventies and early eighties. With each passing year it seems like I find fewer and fewer modern works that spark that special flame in me but when I do I am both exhilarated and grateful.”

Chase Park Cinema (St. Louis, Missouri):




September 17, 2011: being at the Gateway of the West for the recent Bouchercon 2011 made for an unforgettable experience (as I covered here). Yet, it coincided with the début of a film I’d been dying to see. Having streamed Nicolas Winding Refn’s one-of-kind Valhalla Rising earlier this year, and hearing about the Tom Hardy star-making film Bronson, this director got on to my radar. Plus, when I caught the trailer for his Drive film, it made catching this particular film an imperative. Besides, various reviews kept praising it enthusiastically (Darren’s excellent review). Finally, I’d briefly discussed it with my good friend Pop Culture Nerd and author Peter Spiegelman at the mystery writer’s convention I specifically came in town to attend. Both praised the movie passionately. They weren’t wrong to do so.

After the completion of the con’s third day, I caught a cab that evening over to the nearby Chase Park neighborhood. The central west end area of St. Louis is upscale and the set of cinemas is actually part of the lobby of the independently owned Chase Park Plaza Hotel. It was formerly known as Chase Park Plaza Theatre. What was unique to the small stadium hall where I screened the film was that it incorporated what looked like an Hammond Organ. And, one of the theatre staff actually played it until show time — see second image above (taken with my phone). The fact I was alone for this was familiar comfort.

Sitting there, between a protagonist written fittingly to the anti-heroes of 70s film, an L.A. photographed in ways that reminded me of Heat (1995) and The Driver (1978), and a soundtrack more than worthy of any Michael Mann film set in Los Angeles (Heat, Collateral, 2004) or Chicago (Thief, 1981), it all seemed pretty damn appropriate. I was back home. Jeremy really nailed it for me with his close to the review:

“Drive has had its critics (including my friend Tony Dayoub over Cinema Viewfinder) but it moved me like no other film has in a very long time. It even provoked a physical response as I left the theater shaking and I have barely slept since I saw it, as images of Gosling’s haunted stare keep replaying in my head. Drive left me feeling shook-up, dazed and, like my favorite films, if left me feeling like I had been granted a glimpse into part of myself that I didn’t know (or had forgotten) about.”

Same here, my friend.

The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.


12 Responses to “TMT: There Are No Clean Getaways”

  1. dirtywithclass

    Glad you got to check this out. If my local theater ever shows it on Tuesday(Ticket prices are only 3$ on Tuesdays, which is why i have watched more movies in theater this year than before) i will try to check it out, but i will most likely have to wait for it on dvd.


    • le0pard13

      For those prices, I’d go there even from L.A. I’d be really interested to hear what you think of this one, Julian. Thanks for the comment.


  2. Jeremy

    Wonderful piece and thanks so much for the nice words about mine. I love this film and can’t wait to see it again. Thanks again!


    • le0pard13

      My pleasure. Your review really spoke to me and helped to inspire the post, Jeremy. I can see this one coming in for multiple screenings. Thanks.


  3. Novroz

    Haven’t seen your TMT in a while and quite surprise to see that it’s really new (talking about the event).

    The chairs look small comparing to my country”s cinema…or maybe because you guys are huge and us Asians are tiny 😉
    I am still unsure whether to watch this in cinema or DVD


    • le0pard13

      The chairs didn’t feel small, but it could have been an optical illusion caused by the downward angle of the shot.

      Either way you see it, I’d love to hear your reaction to the film. Thanks for your comment, Novroz.


  4. Pop Culture Nerd

    I liked this movie so much and I’m glad you did, too. It also left me shaking because it was so intense. The scene in the motel with Gosling and Hendricks? In the elevator with the thug? I couldn’t breathe.

    Gosling is having an incredible year. CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE; this movie; and next month’s THE IDES OF MARCH (which I also recommend) are completely different from each other and he does outstanding work in all of them.


    • le0pard13

      Same here with regard to this film, Elyse. Intense is a word and a half in this instance. Yeah, Gosling is having a breakout year. Can’t wait for The Ides of March now after screening C,S,L and Drive. Thanks for the comment and the heads up on ‘Ides’.



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