Drive

An "action movie" led by character study and slick cinematography.

If you go into the movie Drive expecting a Jason Statham, Nicolas Cage, Sly Stallone or Vin Diesel standard action flick, then you’ve come to the wrong movie. Yes, Drive (starring indie darling Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman) is an action flick—but only sort of. The film opens with a tense and exciting getaway chase sequence, but don’t expect such fast-paced action throughout. With irrepressible violence, character study and some action, this flick is difficult to categorize. It’s more of an art-house, romanticized action-thriller, infused with neo-noir pulp crime from filmmakers the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Brad Anderson and Michael Mann.

With fury, Drive tells the story of an unnamed mechanic-slash-stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) who also happens to moonlight as a getaway driver. Our anti-hero, Driver, becomes involved with his next-door neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son, Benicio (Kaden Leos). As Driver is beginning to develop feelings for Irene, her husband (Oscar Isaac) is released from prison and learns that a hit has been taken out on him for an unpaid debt. Driver

then decides to risk everything in a mission to protect Irene from a dangerous underworld out to seek revenge upon them.
 
Drive is a highly stylized pulp noir film that sucks the viewer in from the first mesmerizing frame. The opening sequence is one of the best in recent history of this sub-genre. It has you on the edge the entire time, while the '80s-inspired synth-pop soundtrack thumps effectively in the background. The pace may seem a bit unsettling for those expecting a more traditional slam-bang action flick, but this isn’t you’re typical Hollywood action piece. This is actual art.

Gosling has always had a quiet strength about himself as an actor and easily commands the screen regardless of the role. Here, he oozes confidence and self-assured charm throughout Drive, though speaking little and remaining mysterious throughout the film. We never doubt his fundamentally good nature, even though we see reason to believe on many occasions that he has some deep-seated demons beneath the surface. (That being said, take this R rating seriously; the violence of Drive is upfront and uncensored, and can’t be recommended for everyone.)

The great supporting cast are both strong and surprising, especially Albert Brooks, as a mob boss whose “softer” demeanor masks a far more sinister person. However, make no mistake: this is really a showcase for Gosling. He inhabits the character completely, making what could have been a straightforward typical tough-guy into a more complex and paradoxical character. Driver is self-confident and strong, yet clearly lonely and filled with a certain peculiar stillness, almost reminiscent of Mad Max or Travis Bickle.

This film is visually and aurally edgy while remaining posh and gorgeous. Director Nicolas Winding Refn and his cinematographer are able to instill the underground L.A. streets with a sense of life and make it more than just a backdrop for the plot. The camera angles and color blend into a hypnotic and dream-like landscape that puts you right in Driver’s seat, without letting go.

Drive isn’t a one-size-fits-all film. However, if you’re looking for a beautifully crafted and well-acted unique thriller, then Drive is the right vehicle for you.

Adam Chaffin is a young film-maker, actor and radio show host currently living in DC metro area. Follow www.twitter.com/virginiarunning.

10 Comments

84,897

CJ reviewed…

There is a very large difference between take this R rating seriously and what should have been mentioned. Saving Private Ryan shouldn't be recommended for everyone and the R-rating should be taken seriously but Drive was over the top and much more disturbing. It wasn't even the graphic nature of the violence, it was the fact that it was not necessary. The movie could have gotten the point across just as easily without watching someones brains scatter across the floor.

And say what you will about the nudity, but it needs to be mentioned in a review. That is too much to leave out. It wasn't even a few seconds. The nudity was prolonged andunnecessary. Yes the scene was not meant to be sexual but it was. And if it has nothing to do with the ladies in the back then remove them or at least have them put a bra on.

All that said think what you want about the movie, I didn't enjoy it but I'm not trying to imply that it was somehow sinful or something, that is up to the viewer to decide, but to give a review of a movie this graphic and leave out those essential details is giving a dishonest review, especially when making the movie look good.

84,897

Teriberry11 reviewed…

it seems that youre a little uptight, just saying...its a movie...and if violence and nudity bother you...check the bottom of the movie poster, it clearly states why the rating is what it is.

Oscar

1

Oscar reviewed…

This movie was off the chart! Im glad I saw on opening weekend... I allowed my gut to lead me after watching the trailer.

84,897

The Slow-Play reviewed…

Different strokes for different folks I suppose. To be perfectly honest I am surprised that you found Drive to be so disturbing, especially when you compare it to Saving Private Ryan or any of the other films you mentioned.While I agree that Drive was graphically violent, I believe you are measuring it against completely different films.Drive is far more stylized in it's depiction of violence,skirting closer to satire of Hollywood's overly romanticized depiction of violence in modern action films.

84,897

The Slow-Play reviewed…

I have to agree with Terry on this one.Maybe you should relax a little bit,it's just breasts.

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