Hollywood, CA (September 29, 2010)—Drive, the new Ryan Gosling film from FilmDistrict and Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, presented the Soundelux sound team with many unusual sonic challenges.
Although tacitly an action tale, the film is also cerebral, alternating between moments of intense realism and surreality as the audience is drawn into the main character’s head. The director worked hand-in-hand with supervising sound editor/designer, Lon Bender, and supervising sound editor, Victor Ennis, and the Soundelux sound team on the soundtrack’s production.
“Nick wanted to be involved in every aspect of the film,” recalls Bender. “He spent several days with me in my studio and it was a lot of fun. It gave us an opportunity to dig deep into the sound. We brought in new sounds and took things out. We built the sound in a way that was completely organic and natural. It was wonderful.”
It became apparent early on that Refn was not interested in using sound in a realistic way. No attempt was made to replicate the authentic sounds of the film’s hero car. Rather, the director was aiming for an emotional truth, a personality. Bender illustrates the point by referring to one of the film’s opening scenes. The driver is transporting two robbers from a holdup, and, initially, he attempts to elude police by proceeding slowly and blending in with other cars. But then he is spotted and all hell breaks loose.
“The car suddenly comes to life,” Bender smiles. “It accelerates, decelerates. The car is shifting, which is unusual because Driver’s hand is on the steering wheel. The car is an automatic!”
Refn’s attitude toward ambient sound was also unconventional. According to Bender, Drive has a deliberately “thin” soundtrack as Refn chose to exclude traffic and other off-camera environmental sounds in order to focus on what is going on inside his characters’ heads.
“Nick felt that the characters are having an intimate experience and anything happening off-screen that wasn’t intimately tied to the story would take the audience’s ear away from what is really going on,” says Bender.