Film Review: Drive

Film:  Drive
Director:  Nicolas Winding-Refn
Starring:  Ryan Gosling, Carrey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Pearlman, Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks
Release Date:  09/16/11 (theatres) / 01/31/12 (DVD)
Studio:  Sony Pictures
Tagline:  Get in. Get out. Get away.
Plot: “A mysterious Hollywood stuntman, mechanic and getaway driver lands himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbour.”  (Source: IMDB)

Review Score:  4.5 / 5

Drive is easily 2011’s most entertaining, and ultra-violent, film of the year.  Ryan Gosling plays a character known as ‘The Mechanic’ or ‘The Kid’ whose day job just doesn’t deliver enough adrenaline.  At night, he enjoys being a hired driver for anyone needing criminal assistance, whether it’s for the money or the thrill we don’t know.  He ends up meeting Irene (Carey Mulligan)  and her son, forming an instant bond that eventually leads him to protect them from a botched robbery fallout. Much like Scorsese before him, Winding-Refn is a character-study director who gets the most out of his cast — there are even some claiming Academy Award nomination ‘snubs’ for Gosling and Albert Brooks, who plays a big-money crime boss of sorts.  If it wasn’t for the strong acting performances, audiences would be “driving” home upset.

This film resembles Winding-Refn’s early Pusher trilogy that catapulted him onto the indie circuit with it’s narrative and 80s-influenced audio/visual combination.  The audience is connected with the main character, an anti-hero, whom has a troubling situation he must try to get out of.  Here, Winding-Refn has honed those past successes and built upon them with more emotion and suspense.  There’s a scene where The Kid and Irene are in the elevator with a man holding a gun, suddenly he decides to kiss her (part distraction, part desire) before beating the man to death.  What a strangely breathtaking few scenes that truly sum up the entertaining ride audiences take in Drive.  The time slow-down during the camera shot are small, but interesting little creative additions to a now acclaimed resume.

Both Gosling and Refn, who formed a close friendship during filming, have a few future film projects (Only God Forgives, Logan’s Run).  After watching Drive, no one will want the ride to stop.

YouTube – Official Film Trailer:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe6eOqheva8
Amazon.com – Official Film DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Drive/dp/B006W0QOF2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328491160&sr=8-1

Photo Sources:  IMDB (c) 2011 & Hollywood Reporter (c) 2011

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