Movie marketing can be a strange beast. Trailers, posters and other such promotional materials exist to give potential viewers a sense of what to expect from the film in question, both in terms of tone and content.
Many times, these marketing campaigns prove so pervasive that we're almost left feeling that we've seen the film already, even if we never get around to it. And even when we do see it, all too often we find the marketing has given far too much away, depriving us of what might have been genuine surprises, and diluting the overall viewing experience.
Yet while sometimes the marketing tells you way more than you needed to know in advance, there are also times when it leads you up the wrong path entirely. There are, after all, plenty of movies which don't prove to be quite so easy to sell on their own merits, so instead the marketing leads audiences to expect something altogether different.
Now and then, such marketing promises something relatively safe and predictable, when the final film is a long way from that.
Sometimes it may be deliberate misdirection; sometimes the marketing people have misunderstood the film they're trying to sell; other times, it's clear that neither the marketers nor the studio behind the film really care.
Still, perhaps there's something to be said for the occasional misleading marketing campaign; if nothing else, it means we're more likely to be surprised when we finally sit down to see the movie.
On paper, Nicolas Winding Refn's 2011 movie Drive seems like the simplest action thriller you could imagine. Ryan Gosling stars as a professional stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver, but when the job gets personal, the young hotshot is out for revenge.
As is pretty much the standard, the trailer cuts together snippets from the most action-packed moments in the film: car chases, explosive collisions, fist fights, gun shots. Along with this, it boasts many lines of dialogue from Gosling, which seems fair enough given he's the lead.
The problem is, this gives the impression that Drive is nothing but high-speed action with a tough-talking romantic hero. In fact things, roll out at a much more languid pace with far greater emphasis on character than thrills and spills. Not only that, but the trailer seems to have utilised about 75% of Gosling's dialogue in the film, as his unnamed character hardly ever speaks at all.
This marketing misdirection came back to haunt Drive, as - in one of the more hilarious lawsuits in recent memory - a disgruntled American cinemagoer tried to sue, arguing the marketing had suggested it would be more Fast & Furious than slow and sombre.