Written by Hossein Amini
Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn
Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Bryan Cranston
1 hr, 40 mins
Written by Tommy Tran
Drive is one of the coolest and most unique films I’ve ever seen. Gosling is a quiet getaway driver whose motives are more than slightly questionable. Even though I love smart, thoughtful dialogue, it’s surprising how likable Drive‘s eerie silence is. In lieu of lots of dialogue, there’s a great vocal soundtrack that plays over the stillness. But it’s the mystery of Gosling’s character that keeps me hooked.
Gosling plays an unnamed driver who chews toothpicks and drives a 1973 Chevy Malibu. He works as a Hollywood stunt driver and as a mechanic at Shannon’s car garage, whose owner is played by Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston. On the side, the driver does getaways. The driver meets Irene, Carey Mulligan’s cute, quiet neighbor of the driver. She has a son whose father is in prison.
The driver and Irene hang out a lot, and it seems they really like each other. But when her husband returns home and finds out about the driver’s “helping out” around the house with his wife, some trouble is sure to ensue. The movie is a completely unpredictable train, like an elephant in a small room.
Direction and Casting
Ryan Gosling is a great, if slightly underrated actor. His cool demeanor really suits the character. He doesn’t say very much, but his actions really do speak much louder than his words. The way he graces over the screen is very powerful. Alongside Mulligan they have quite the onscreen chemistry. There’s a scene with the two just driving in a car. They look at each other and smile, and somehow, you just know they have something special. No dialogue, just music and a single in-car camera angle and yet so much is said.
Danish director Refn certainly had an unorthodox vision for this film, and it turned out amazingly stylish and gritty. I certainly didn’t see the action moments coming. Surely the car chases were inevitable, but the other moments were completely unexpected. The violence is brief and shockingly brutal and gory. It’s the jolting breed of unpredictability that sets Drive apart from your standard thriller.
At one point I wondered why the violence was so rampant in the second half. I suddenly realized it was to highlight how the driver is really a good guy and a bad guy. He looks out for Irene and her son, yet he murders people. It’s a sickening balance of life that lives in Drive. The only other thing is that it takes good risks which I love. But then it takes a hard break in the originality with one clichéd scene. It’s not too bothersome, but they really could’ve made the movie without it. The movie still retains its freshness and thrills. There’s no reason you shouldn’t see it unless you’re squeamish about violence.
If you’re looking to break the monotony of mindless action flicks of right now, the easiest way to do it is with Drive. Its thrills are over-the-top, yet the overall film seems so grounded. It shows what people are really capable of, especially to protect the ones we love. Whatever the moral is, I applaud Refn for not watering down this movie. It blends violence and romance with cars and music. It’s wonderful. Drive is a crazy genre-bending achievement in cinema. And to think you can see it for free now on Crackle.com…