Drive (2011)

September 16, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

If the main character of Drive watched his own movie he’d use one word: cool. Ryan Gosling takes on the role of a mysterious man simply called “the Driver,” who is a stuntman and mechanic by day, but is a wheel-man at night. Nicolas Winding Refn takes the wheel and directs this film with undeniable style, and Ryan Gosling continues to prove why he is one of the best actors in the business. Drive is a bullet ride art-house action film.

Wrapped in glowing neon colors and utilizing slow motion at its best, Drive is covered in gift wrap that you can’t pry your eyes away from until it’s too late and you realize what’s beneath the gift wrap: a ticking time bomb. The action is halting and oozes with style. It doesn’t just knock the wind out of you, it punches right through you. There’s minimal dialogue from the script, and the main character only needs few words to express exactly what he’s feeling. Screenwriter Hossein Amini makes the words count. Everything the film does seduces the audience, from the soundtrack, the shots, the brutal action, the acting and everything in between.

Sporting a slick Scorpion patched jacket, hands snug in brown leather driving gloves, biting on a  toothpick with a smile, Ryan Gosling is the man, the myth, the Driver. Gosling’s character is way too cool for a name, and is just referred to as “the Driver,” and he has as much drive as he does skills in the driver’s seat. Gosling displays a sort of minimalist acting; very subtle, yet still complete in that his actions and movements speak plenty. He’s a mysterious character with no real background, but a good heart and a slightly psychotic taste for danger. Carey Mulligan, as the love interest named Irene, is quite a sight and has this connection with Gosling that is stripped of words. Bryan Cranston, playing Shannon, is the Driver’s one true friend. Cranston draws many of the laughs and sort of plays a guardian to the Driver, as the Driver does so in return.

Drive is a cool film, and not the version of cool you use to describe something you’re passive about; it’s the cool that was used to describe something “cool” for the first time–that version. It’s a throwback film with a over-stylized feel and plenty of explosive thrills to keep you burning for more. More than being one of the most bloody, entertaining films of the year, it is a story about what drives good to turn evil.

Potential Drawbacks:

Despite all the action and thrills, some may think this film substitutes mood for emotions, and may find it hard to connect to any of the characters. There are also those who might buy into the trailer and think this is a Transporter type action flick when it’s really an art-house action/crime film.

There’s also the violence. Some may not like the intensity of the violence. It’s an R-rated film, and they push the limits of the rating.

Film Recommendations:

Taxi Driver

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