When was the last time you went to a movie where the ending wasn’t spoiled in a 90 sec. trailer; a film that caught you off guard and surprised you … in a good way?
“Drive” is that movie.
Ryan Gosling stars in this gritty neo-noir as the ultimate antihero known simply as The Driver. By day, he’s a Hollywood stuntman, but by night he drives the getaway car for small time crooks. We don’t really ever find out too much about him other than he drives, and he’s really good at it.
Though he isn’t the warm and fuzzy type, we do get a break in his stoic facade when he meets his next door neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son. The problem is that Irene’s husband was just released from prison and has old debts to pay.
Driver agrees to be the wheelman for a pawn shop robbery that goes terribly wrong. Now he has to outrun some ruthless mobsters (Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks) to keep himself, Irene, and her family alive.
When I left the theater, I was … perplexed by this movie. Did I like it? Did I hate it? Did I care at all?
The more I reflect back on it the more I enjoy it and appreciate the film. It is an incredibly well made movie. Everything about the movie worked together: the casting, acting, story, pacing, cinematography, soundtrack, it all fit together seamlessly. But it’s definitely a movie you have to think on a bit to really appreciate.
If you go into “Drive” expecting a shoot-em-up car chase action flick, you’re going to be let down. This is not “Gone in 60 Seconds” starring Ryan Gosling. It’s a dark, character driven crime drama with some really bloody and graphic violence thrown in.
The pace may be too slow for some but in “Drive” everything is deliberate. It’s a quiet, intentional buildup to the movie’s climax which makes it that much more thrilling. I think that Gosling has maybe ten lines of dialog throughout the entire film but that just gives the few words he speaks more impact.
Gosling has a knack for picking interesting characters and roles that really showcase his acting. Here he’s backed by an outstanding supporting cast. Perlman (a.k.a. Hellboy) is a sensational bad guy. He’s big and menacing and really terrifying (even without the red makeup and sawed off horns). He’s the kind of villain you really love to hate.
And Brooks was almost unrecognizable as Perlman’s criminal cohort. I’m use to seeing him as the slightly neurotic comedic straight man but here he’s cold and merciless. It’s a great role that he fit surprisingly well. Bryan Cranston also pops up as Driver’s mentor of sorts and is responsible for the few light moments in an otherwise serious and intense drama.
If you’re a fan of good cinema and aren’t afraid of a little … well … lot of bloodshed, then go see “Drive.” If you think that Ryan Gosling is just especially yummy and want to see some excessive brooding, then go see “Drive.” If you like suspenseful crime thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat set to an 80’s techno soundtrack, then go see “Drive.”
If I wasn’t clear enough, go see “Drive.”