Do you remember a time in film when male lead of a film rarely talked? And when he did speak there was a point to it. A time in film when the male characters were tough and his foes weren’t over the top cartoons but characters themselves? How about when you saw violence, it wasn’t fun or pretty or looked like video game. If you do then you should see Drive. If you don’t or never had the chance then you should see Drive.
Drive is about a young man played by Ryan Gosling. He’s a stunt driver in Hollywood part time and a mechanic the rest of the time. We learn quickly that in his off hours he is a wheelman. A wheelman with very strict rules for his services. He meets and falls in love with young woman with a young son named Irene, played by Carey Mulligan. Soon after Irene’s husband gets back into the picture and after meeting him and offer him his help in his time of need our Driver is drawn into mess of crime and murder.
The first thing you notice in this film is how quiet it is. The director Nicolas Winding Refn does an excellent job of letting things breathe and just hold in silence. The atmosphere in the film is fantastic in the way Refn at times holds the camera on a scene or character. His use of panning the camera across the frame so the viewer can see the surroundings and space that the characters are in really helps to build tension. Also the use of color to show the feelings characters and change of mood of a scene was superb.
Hossein Amini’s screenplay should be commended on its use of no dialogue. The characters at times, especially the main character totally communicates with no dialogue at all. It allows the actors to act and not tell everything in exposition. The music in the film really brings all these things together with an unnerving swells and at times use of synth reminiscent of 80s pop music. In the end it really gives the film a very mid 80s small budget action crime drama feel.
The star of this film is surely Gosling. When you first meet him he’s this very together, clean and on time guy who just happens to be a wheelman. Shortly we see that he’s like this nice quiet, tough guy of sorts that has these sad dogfaces. You’d never think of this character as hard nosed protagonist like that of Steve McQueen in Bullit or something. But when things really go bad and all heck breaks loose he totally changes like a rabid dog that can’t be stopped. It’s so captivating on screen that even during some of the depraved parts you can’t stop looking at the screen.
Albert Brooks, plays a character named Bernie Rose and it was pretty great to see him play a villain role. He looked to have enjoyed playing that very much. But not as much as Ron Perlman as Nino. Boy HE was having fun playing a gangster on screen.
Carey Mulligan I feel didn’t have a lot to do in the second half of the film but in the earlier parts I feel she did well playing the young mother Irene who has fell for another man down the hall.
Drive has really set the bar high in terms of Fall releases. It was a surprising Action Crime Drama that totally has you in the end of your seat anticipating on what will happen next. This one is totally worth the time and money to go see. You will not be sorry.
FINAL GRADE: A
Original posted on Reel Film News