Movie Review: Drive

Drive (2011)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman
Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn

If I drive for you, you give me a time and a place. I give you a five-minute window, anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours no matter what. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down; I don’t carry a gun… I drive. 

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Drive, the latest feature from Bronson director Nicolas Winding Refn, and I’m here to tell you one thing about the film: believe it. Drive is hands down one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, with awesome cinematography, crazy car chases, and an incredible cast that will hopefully be recognized come Oscar season.

Drive stars Ryan Gosling as a young man who is a stunt driver by day and getaway driver for hire by night. We know nothing about him, other than the fact that he is a loner. In fact, we never hear his real name. Instead he simply known as “the Driver”. Driver goes through his regular routine of stunt work (both at night and during the day), until he starts to get to know his neighbor Irene (played by Carey Mulligan) and her son Benecio. He begins to develop a very sweet relationship with the two of them, until Irene’s husband is released from prison. That’s when Drive, an already stellar film, kicks it into overdrive.

Irene’s husband Standard (played by Oscar Isaac), owes some people some money. Some very BAD people money. When Driver learns that these people intend to go after Irene and Benecio, he agrees to be Standard’s getaway driver, under the condition that Irene and Benecio are left alone after the robbery. Of course, things go wrong, and then Driver is dropped into a very seedy and very, very, violent world, which pushes him to his very limits.

As always, Ryan Gosling is astounding. He’s convincing and incredibly badass in the action scenes, but it’s his quiet moments at the beginning of the film with Mulligan where he really shines. You can tell how strong his feelings are for Irene even though he is a man of (very) few words. If he is not at least given a nomination come Oscars I will be livid. The same goes for Bryan Cranston, who is extremely moving as Shannon, the sad sack auto shop owner who not only gives Driver a job at the shop, but also sets up his stunt work. As a recent viewer of Breaking Bad (just started the second season), I was very excited to see Cranston in this, and he did not disappoint.  Mulligan is also heartbreaking as well. When you add Albert Brooks as a terrifying gangster and Ron Perlman as his partner (not to mention a small role for Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks) you get a cast that is absolutely dynamite.

I loved Refn’s Bronson (which starred the incredible Tom Hardy), and when I heard that he had directed Drive, it was instantly on my radar. If Refn can continue on the road he’s on, he will be a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Drive is an incredible film. Everything about it works, from the locations to the awesome synth pop soundtrack. It’s like a lost 80’s crime flick that has been released to the world today, and it is one of the best films of the year. This is a movie that deserves a bigger box office.
Four Getaway Cars out of Four

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Posted on October 1, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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