Drive (2011) – Review

4 Stars


Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive is one of the most intensely hypnotic films of this young decade. Don’t be deceived by the title that may suggest a rip-roaring motor mash-up in the vein of the Fast and Furious pictures. This is a far higher minded affair; Drive has more in common with Michael Mann classics than formulaic racing movies. In fact outside of a few sequences this is a slow moving film with little dialogue and scenes that sometimes go on for longer than necessary.

Ryan Gosling stars as a Hollywood stunt driver by day and a getaway driver on the side. Bryan Cranston is the father figure who owns an auto garage and dreams of pursuing a future in NASCAR. Unfortunately he is in business with two gangsters (excellently portrayed by Albert Brooks and Ron Pearlman) who have other plans in mind for the kid with a special set of skills. Along the way Gosling, who goes through the entire film known only as ‘Driver’ begins to fall for a neighbor and her young son. All is well until the girl’s husband arrives home from a prison stint and ‘Driver’ is ousted. Any more of a plot description would ruin the many surprises the script has in store. I admire the writers’ decision to stray away from cliches for the most part. This could have easily been turned into a mess of a movie by less talented filmmakers.

Drive features one of Gosling’s best performances even though I’d guess he speaks less than 150 words in the entire film. Yet he is able to evoke sympathy for a character that is very unstable, even while limited the actor conveys the underlying emotion in every scene. Director Nicolas Winding Refn impressively executes a modern classic.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston

2 thoughts on “Drive (2011) – Review

  1. I too was a big fan of Drive. The film was very well directed, the casting was perfect, and the performances from top to bottom were top notch. Although it starts off on the slow side, the payoff is in the stylistic way the film was put together.

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