The recent exploration of real, gritty Los Angeles in film and TV -- as popularized by everything from "Collateral" and "Southland" to "(500) Days of Summer" -- expands again in the new Ryan Gosling feature "Drive." Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne calls the movie "one of the most perceptive recent attempts to understand the peculiarly standoffish personality of L.A.'s built environment."
Don't expect glamour shots of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Griffith Observatory and other postcard landmarks; what you see through the windshield of the cars in "Drive" is largely the drab, closed-off and forgettable cityscape of the Southern California commercial strip.The L.A. Times film blog 24 Frames takes us on a tour of "Drive" locations here. Some highlights:
Whenever any building in the movie shimmers or gleams, it is because it is being seen from an impossible distance, shot from a helicopter gliding over Bunker Hill at night or hovering Oz-like way off on the horizon. Otherwise, the characters in "Drive" spend most of their time in elevators, cheap apartments, greasy spoons and parking garages, grimly navigating a downmarket version of the anonymous urban interiors that the architect Rem Koolhaas once dubbed "junkspace."
Real place: corner of W. 6th Street and S. Park View Street, Los Angeles
Echo Park market
Real place: Big 6 Market, 500 block of S. Rampart Boulevard, Los Angeles
Real place: Picture Car Warehouse, 8400 block of Reseda Boulevard, Northridge
Real place: L.A. River near Reseda and Victory boulevards, Reseda
Real place: Vincenzo’s Pizza, 11000 block of Balboa Boulevard, Granada Hills
Real Place: Santa Clarita Elks Lodge, 17700 block of Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita
Real Place: Point Mugu State Park and beaches