When the movie Drive came out on trailers at the theatres and on TV, the main thought was a racing movie or a movie about cars. Through this movie has some sense of that fast cars would be in the movie (hence the title Drive), it brings back a completely different emotion and cinematic experience that has been missing in films recently.
Directed by a Danish Director Nicolas Winding Refn, who has done Valhalla Riding and Bronson was actually pursued by Ryan Gosling to direct the film. Ryan Gosling, who plays the main role of “The Driver” which we don’t know his name throughout the film, plays a guy who is a driver for criminals at night and by day he is a Hollywood stunt man and an auto mechanic for Shannon played by Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle series, Little Miss Sunshine).
Now Shannon is the one who hired “The Driver” for both the day and night time employment. He is a wiz mechanic who has gotten involved with the wrong guys named Bernie played by Albert Brooks (Finding Nemo, Taxi Driver) and Nino played by Ron Perlman (Hell Boy, Sons of Anarchy) who run a mob related joints in Los Angeles.
While The Driver lived alone, he had John Hughes(16 Candles) type crush on the girl named Irene played by Carey Mulligan (An Education, Pride & Prejudice) even though she had a son and a husband who was in jail. He would help them out with the car repairs or the groceries, till the husband named Standard played by Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood, Sucker Punch) got out of jail. Standard had some issues with the guys who protected him in jail, and The Driver, do to his love for the Irene and the boy decided to try to help Standard out.
Now this movie isn’t for the faint in heart. It is extreme violent and graphic at times. After saying that, it is an art house of a movie. I reminded me of taking all the genres of car movies like Bullitt with Steve McQueen mixed with Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, were the Gosling ‘s character is a hero in a sober yet deeply emotional way. You don’t know much of “The Driver,” but it actually works in this film. I have only seen it one other time were the main character doesn’t have a name yet pulls it off, and that was Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars and the Good, Bad, and the Ugly.
What this movie missed for me was some emotional continuity throughout the film. It did seem rather realistic, but I felt that some of the scenes stalled. Now I am not saying that this ruins the movie, but in fact, in some ways it helps with the build up the tension and suspense in the film.
In some sense, this movie brings Gosling even more into a remarkable actor. In my last review of Crazy, Stupid, Love, my comments were that he was the best part of this movie. After seeing Drive, Ryan Gosling is the Clint Eastwood of our days. He is that good. He was able to take a character with no background and make him into something we want to know about, and yet have a sense who he is, with his values and priorities are in his life.
This movie is one of a kind. I can understand that there are people who will see it and hate it. It isn’t like Fast and the Furious or Gone in 60 Seconds, but rather like Transporter mixed with the realism of Michael Mann’s Collateral and Heat. For those who love art house movies, it is a definite must see.
If you like this film, I recommend:
The Transporter (2002)
Dirty Harry (1971)