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THE AGGRESSION SCALE: Another DRIVE?
Drive has opened the stylistic doors for smart crime films, such as the forthcoming The Aggression Scale.
Look, I know that’s a bold move on my part, linking what was likely last year’s film most beloved by crime buffs to this new indie crime flick, the second directorial effort of Steven C. Miller. But the latest trailer for this 2012 SXSW buzz-maker really gives a Drive feel, right down to the hot-pink lettering for the titles. It also takes a subtle tack with the viewer, eschewing any dialogue in favor of silent shots of guys chasing our teen heroes and screaming a lot, all beneath a simple piano soundtrack that is almost Carpenter-esque.
Basically, I’ve got a good feeling. Dig it:
And yes, you did catch a glimpse of Ray Wise in there. I know, that only sweetens the deal, doesn’t it?
Ray Wise is probably most well-known for his role in Twin Peaks, but he also did excellent work portraying Satan (smart casting) on the short-lived cult dramedy, Reaper, and has been a fave of mine since he played one of Kurtwood Smith’s crew in RoboCop. From what the internet-machine tells me, his role may be minor, but there are no small roles, as we all know. Albert Brooks took his similar crimelord part in Drive and made it major, though his screen-time wasn’t much more than what he had in Taxi Driver. And I’d say Ray Wise is at least as good an actor as Brooks, even if he isn’t as well-known.
Also from Twin Peaks, we have San Diego’s own Dana Ashbrook as Wise’s right-hand, and he’s never looked more confident and full of gangster swagger. But the real wild card here is young Ryan Hartwig. Wise and his crew are after some major cash that Hartwig’s family apparently made off with (whether on purpose or not, I can’t say). When they begin to hunt down Hartwig’s family, they clearly didn’t reckon that this little babyface would be so adept with a 12-gauge.
Hm, larger-than-life gangsters in over the heads with a young pretty-boy who carries a quiet, brooding intensity? Sounds familiar.
I’m in no way trying to imply that The Aggression Scale is at all derivative of Drive. What I am saying is that Drive, a smart, beautifully designed crime film, made major leaps in bringing some real artistic relevance to the genre last year, relevance I hadn’t even realized it was missing. And if the popularity of that film has helped to open doors for flicks like Miller’s here, then we are in for some real treats.
Anchor Bay will be releasing the film on Blu-ray and DVD this May.