Drive – 2011
Ryan Gosling as Driver
Carey Mulligan as Irene
Bryan Cranston as Shannon
Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose
Oscar Isaac as Standard Gabriel
Ron Perlman as Nino
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Of the movies I have seen in 2011 Drive was perhaps the most impressively anti mainstream that I have enjoyed. What this really means is that the people expecting a fast paced Hollywood action movie were left completely bewildered and perhaps a little disappointed. This only makes Drive all the better.
The story of Drive can be summed up very simply, a stunt driver who moonlights as a contracted getaway driver falls in love with his neighbour and then must use his skills to protect her and her son from criminals her jailbird husband is involved with. On the surface it is a story told a thousand times before in any number of moderate to good movies. What sets Drive apart is the serious, slow and deliberate delivery every scene is constructed with. This movie is in no way fast passed and every line and action is focused and dominates the screen.
Our unnamed main character, played by Ryan Gosling in a white satin jacket that will soon become an ironically cool real life fashion statement, comes across as strangely liable despite his slow nature permeated with acts of sudden action and violence. Ryan Gosling absolutely sells this role and brings a sense of humanity to what is essentially a stereotypical character. The supporting characters fill out the rest of the movie with some great performances, particularly from Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman
The plot is neither conventional nor unconventional. It certainly goes through what might be considered “the motions” but every part is delivered with sense and reason, it flows naturally and comes to a natural conclusion. This is not a forced movie in any fashion. The film can be suddenly and amazingly brutal when it needs to be which when combined with the steady increase in tension over the film can seriously startle the audience. This is not a movie for those who are squeamish about realistic looking violence.
I cannot go without mentioning the style this movie absolutely drips with. Although set very much in the present the essence of the 80’s is unmistakable. The synth soundtrack, the aforementioned jacket and even down to the stylised pink title really brings home the roots of the movie’s themes.
Would I recommend Drive? I would have to say a definite yes.. but. That but would be if you can enjoy deliberately slow movies with large gaps between action. If you can enjoy more arty movies then I would defenitly recommend this movie.
Four satin jackets out of five.