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One reviewer here suggested that instead of seeing Drive you should see
what Drive was aspiring to be Layer Cake. Drive is nothing like Layer
Cake nor even tries to be. They have nothing in common, and the comment
is just absurd. It is a far far better film though. From it's title
sequence written in cursive pink (which a ton of idiots just did not
get for some reason) to it's retro soundtrack. It is a picture perfect
reflection of the films from the late 60's, 70's and 80's. If you have
not seen films from this era (i do believe so many reviewers here have
not) you will not entirely get this film.
This is a man with no name film. Instead of horses and cowboys we get fast muscle cars and ruthless gangsters. Our hero is a man with no name. He is also a man of very few words that can break out into fits of extreme violence at any moment to protect those he cares about. We get no back story to our hero just like the Eastwood pictures, which makes the film even more effective. He is not your typical Vin Diesel blabbering idiot action hero. He is an old fashioned action hero. Too many here did not understand this, and decided this was bad acting/directing. It is far better to imagine what Gosslings character has done to arrive at this point, than to be shown in some cheesy flash back sequence. Albert Brooks (who is just fantastic as usual), Ron Pearlman, and Bryan Cranston all provide nice contrast to our quiet hero.
Another reviewer here stated there was no explanation for the second car at the pawn shop. Well there was. I will not give it away here, but you will find the answer in the motel sequence. The violence has also been hated on here, but it is just part of the world he lives in. The fact that he can be just as cruel as the gangsters adds to the mystery of his character.
Not one negative review is credible. Unless you were raised on Transformer and Fast and Furious pictures. Then I guess you would need more CG, louder music, and bad duologue so you could understand the film easier. Or maybe you just need more imaginary computerized cars doing spectacular things on screen to hold your attention. The fact is this is a fantastic film, filled with great performances, and some of the best chase sequences since bullet. Be smart see films that matter.
You might hear one comparing this to a Tarantino film, but leave all
worries at the door, this is an absorbing and tremendously unique piece
of cinema from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. The reason it
works so exquisitely well is because the film grabs hold of you and
takes you inside this often dark and dream-like LA setting. So, when
the end of the film hits, you feel apart of this film, and it's there
This film also offers a Ryan Gosling like you've never seen him, speaking only when necessary, with tension and fury in his eyes. He's silent, caring, and ridiculously tough. Every line is delivered perfectly and every gesture is natural.
I saw this at the LA Film Festival on a mammoth screen with booming speakers. The music only makes this film more unique. It is catchy and synchronized perfectly with the TRULY beautiful cinematography.
This film is the BEST of its genre. I honestly cannot compare it to any other film, for it is truly that different. "Drive" is already the best of the year, because I'm POSITIVE no other film will haunt and invade me quite like this film has. This is not just a classic for its genre, but a beautiful and bold classic in general.
A truly beautiful and hypnotic film.
I've seen the last few Nicholas Winding Refn films, and while I liked both Bronson and Valhalla Rising a lot, they were both "difficult" films, in that both structure, pacing and tone were bound to alienate some people, and of course they were both marketed as somewhat mainstream films while being anything but.
Part of the irony of Refn's situation is that he makes films about "Primal" man- and these protagonists invariably commit acts of great violence on those around them. This violence puts his films into the genre categories that Hollywood recognises and promotes to the public, resulting in trailers for Refn movies that grossly misrepresent the sophistication of the actual film. In that way, Valhalla's intense, slow-burning and almost dialogue-free mythic exploration of our savage past can be repackaged as a "Vlad the Viking goes to the New World" action movie.
Yet both Valhalla and Bronson were highly "directed" films, revealing a very strong hand in control of the material. And so, I was extremely curious to see what Refn would do with the material, and whether he would be able to rein in his sometimes obtrusive style in order to allow the story more room to breathe... I shouldn't have worried. I think the director has managed to balance a genuine artistry with the demands of the genre in a way that is rarely, if ever, achieved. I absolutely loved it. Just stay the hell away from the trailer, as it reveals far too much, and again, misrepresents the film's true "feel".
Driver has a tone of wry amusement at everything around it, much like Gosling's half-smirk, pivoted on the toothpick perpetually in the corner of his mouth. Schmucky gangsters and mob clichés provide some laughs, but the heart of the film is Gosling's portrayal of the unnamed? main character and his sweet, underplayed romance with Mulligan and her young son.
While an ethereal synthesizer-pop soundtrack provides an at-times tender,at-times mythic undercurrent, the car chases and action scenes, when they come, are tense, brutal and brief- far more Eastern Promises than The Transporter. Mulligan plays her character all trembly, wet-eyed, sweet and innocent and is swept away by Gosling's quiet strength and self-assured charm, while Gosling speaks little and remains a mystery to the end, though we never doubt his fundamentally good nature.
The seasoned supporting cast are all very fun, except maybe for Kendricks who is relegated to a fairly irrelevant part. Of course, this is really Gosling's film, and he inhabits the character completely, turning what could be a straightforward Hollyood tough-guy role into a complex and contradictory character, self-confident and physical, yet clearly lonely and possessed with a certain peculiarity and stillness, almost reminiscent of De Niro's Travis Bickle.
Visually the film is lush and gorgeous. Like Michael Mann, Refn and his cinematographer are able to instill LA with a sense of life and character that most directors just fail to do. Unlike Mann however, Refn opts for warm orange tones over Mann's hard blues, and in one particularly beautiful sequence the familiar LA cliché of driving down the dry LA river is taken to an unexpectedly joyful conclusion.
Despite its absolute craftsmanship, Driver is probably not for everybody, which makes me sad. People who prefer bald-headed muscle men slugging and wise-cracking their way into their wallets should of course stay away, as this bears very little resemblance to the standard Hollywood fare associated with the genre, and they might well be disappointed.
But for me, Driver was sweet, surreal, mythic, tense, fun, hilarious, revolting, and surprising. See it because it will make you a better person.
And so, 10 out of 10, because it deserves it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've been an IMDb member for about 5 years or so and I've rated over
650 titles. I never wrote a review before though...
"Drive" is the most overrated movie I have ever seen. When I got out of the cinema the other night I was outraged. But not in the "I want my money back!" or "I want my two hours back!" way. I was outraged because this movie is rated higher than "Leon", for example. I can name a hundred movies that are better than "Drive" but have lower ratings.
In my opinion it's a 6/10 movie. Full of clichés, weak plot, no dialogue and uncalled for explicit violence scenes. The cinematic was good and the soundtrack was OK, but that doesn't add up. Everybody is talking about the acting. Well, what acting? There are no characters, not even one line of dialogue to be remembered. Ryan Gosling acts like he is the most awesome person in the universe. Moving around with his hands in his pockets or with his arms crossed on his chest, with a toothpick in his mouth like he's Stallone in "Cobra". A man of few words but who looks smarter than anybody else. He is ridiculous taking himself so seriously. But hey, he is a mechanic, part time stunt driver, part time get-away driver. How cool is that? Maybe he should have also applied for a school bus driver position so his sensitive side appear more clear to us and soften our dull old hearts.
And what's with all that violence? Broken skulls, throats cut, blood everywhere all of a sudden. These scenes just don't fit in the movie. It seems that they were added just to shock the audience and to impress the 12 year-old who managed to get tickets. And don't get me started on the screenplay flaws...
Anyway, there are so many things that I didn't like in this movie that they wouldn't fit in 10 reviews. I believe though that his rating will eventually go down. I mean, 8.7? Lets have some sense. That's how "Matrix", "The usual suspects" or "Forrest Gump" are rated... "Drive" is just a "B" movie and doesn't deserve to share the spot with any other film above.
Unless, the world turns upside down.
EDIT: OK, I was a bit out of line regarding the title of my review. It's just a highly overrated movie.
After a summer of cheap thrills, Drive delivers thrills on the cheap.
With a budget Michael Bay might have allocated for a single effects
sequence in Transformers 3, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn made
one of the best movies of the year. Following Bronson and Valhalla
Rising, Refn crafts his most polished, commercial work yet, while
retaining all the ambiguity and unbridled aggression of his
tough-as-nails art house pictures.
Bearing thematic resemblance to Darren Aronofsky's recent output, Drive is like Black Swan in overdrive. The film pins its headlights on the dark implications of unchecked obsession and good intentions gone haywire. That dangerous duality humanity on the razor's edge of animal brutality is played to unnerving perfection by Ryan Gosling.
Rightly among the most reliable names on the Hollywood marquee, the star of Drive plays a crucible of a character. A friendly, fatherly figure to his neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and her young son, he's decidedly less so when the two are threatened. A sort of oblique, ultraviolent superhero, the driver leaps to defend the innocent with bloody determination. If the first half of Drive plays as drama, the second is straight up revenge fare.
Playing on the juxtaposition of calm and calamity, Refn keeps us on our toes throughout. Quiet moments stretch into suffocating silence, and the explosive violence that inevitably shatters it practically tears the frame in half. The audio is expertly mixed; you'll want to see Drive loud. From its roaring engines and visceral blows to its curt dialogue, the film is an altar to the power of great sound design.
In truth, Drive isn't pervasively violent, though its most excruciatingly effective moments leave a memory trail like tire streaks on a sunbaked highway. At the heart of the story is a compelling, surprisingly tender romance. Carey Mulligan has proved herself a similarly reliable talent to Gosling, and has worked in recent years with the likes of Michael Mann, Oliver Stone, and Mark Romanek.
Her fragile character's relationship with the driver is subtle and nuanced in a manner atypical of thriller convention. They're not family, they're not even sleeping together. Drive is not a sexy film. Refn fetishizes neither cars nor women; if The Fast and the Furious is the sleek exterior curves of an automobile, Drive is the greasy, undulating pistons. And it's utilitarian at a lean 100 minutes.
The rest of the small cast also impresses. Albert Brooks plays against type as a cutthroat crime lord, and a note-perfect Ron Perlman plays his meathead partner. Bryan Cranston of TV's Breaking Bad has a small role too, as employer and confidant to Gosling's character. Their relationships shuffle as lines are drawn and redrawn, but none of them comes away unscathed by the film's end.
Drive is either the explosive end to a lukewarm summer movie season or an early autumn adrenaline rush. In machismo, it far outpaces its hundred million dollar competition, leaving overwrought tales of lesser heroes like Thor and Green Lantern in the dust. Its troubled characters, and the bonds of desperation that link them, elevate the film above its genre trappings and shield it from disposable entertainment status.
Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive is an anomaly. It's like a 1200 horsepower hybrid. And it's one of the best movies of 2011.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Welcome to the first edition of Movie Math. Beware, I spoil the entire
movie in this review. My sincerest apologies.
First, I do not like to applaud mediocrity, even if it is well done mediocrity. I understand the underlying point of the movie, but it was really buried and I shouldn't be able to get to that point so quickly. The audience prefers to be led, not slapped into submission. It just stings less after you realize you paid $12 to be treated like an idiot. Second, I did love the neon pink script, the members only jacket and the 80's pop (which, alone, is awesome but seemed like a loud, annoying filler for scenes that had absolutely nothing going on). Combined, they seemed like an afterthought.
The movie consists of about 30 minutes of good solid plot line stuffed with about 1.5 hours worth of pointless fluff (ex. the river scene, all the staring, the shots of watching TV, the random garage & test driving scenes) all meant to build character and inspire (or something). This failed completely because I actually connected more with Albert Brooks' & Bryan Cranston's characters. Both of whom had less airtime than the main characters.
And plot line- wait, there isn't A plot line, there are several, terribly integrated plot lines. Think: The Notebook + Grindhouse + Steve Mcqueen + Tarantino. The narration was so cliché it made me wince. Never, EVER, should narration take the place of integral character development.
The love plot is absurd. She doesn't know Gosling, he's super creepy, says nothing and somehow she gets a warm/cozy vibe so she invites him over to hang out with her kid. And I thought the romance in Twilight was bad (-1 star simply because I was forced to write Twilight).
The violence was eh. I've seen gory horror flicks integrate gratuitous violence into the story line better, and in a less in-your-face manner, so that was unimpressive and unimaginative(-1). Especially because, unless you're sadistic, no one actually enjoys watching someone get stabbed in the eye.
As for the dialog, there isn't any, and the cars have fewer appearances than sentences. So this leads me to believe the title is meant to have more than one connotation. Warning: here is where I get all "artsy".
The title, Drive, can be interpreted in two different ways: one being the more literal sense: someone that drives a car; the second alluding perseverance. If it is the second, then the Refn/Amini duo are sorely lacking all around and Mulligan desperately wants her kid to die quietly at the hands of an insane mechanic. There's some perseverance for you.
That being said, I did not enjoy this movie. I do not require the Michael Bay effect to be entertained but please, do not treat me like a Teen wolf/Twilight moviegoer (-1 AGAIN). Long pauses do not develop character, especially when a blank affect is meant to be a representation of stoicism/wide-eyes and a mom-haircut represent vulnerability(-1 for being a giant stereotype). Even if those blank stares are backed up by a wicked soundtrack (hell yes, Chris Martinez, high five! +1)and excellent cinematography (it's already been done before but whatever: +1).
However, I was constantly reminded of other movies while watching(Collateral, anyone? -1) and I was left feeling like someone (Gosling and Refn/Aminihad) watched far too many Steve Mcqueen movies. And then they attempted, quite literally, to copy the dynamics. Unfortunately, the entire team (and some of the audience)failed to realize that Mr. Mcqueen's movies were written FOR him and Mr. Gosling has not quite reached that level. So -1 for not being original.
I was not impressed by Mr. Gosling's acting (What acting? It's so easy to stand around and chew a toothpick: -1) and I honestly do not understand all the hype regarding Ms. Mulligan. I've seen almost all her movies and she plays the doe-eyed victim with a giant heart in every. single. one.So -1 for typecasting. This also includes Christina Hendricks, by the way. She looked SO uncomfortable. Well, maybe that was the point, or maybe it was because her pants were too tight and she was robbing a pawn shop wearing 5" heels. I should -1 for it being unrealistic, but this movie would then have a negative rating.
Gosling and Mulligan attempt the profound "say something by not saying anything at all" (-1 for bad directing) but Mulligan appears dimwitted and Gosling goes from mimicking George Washington on the side of Mt. Rushmore to suddenly being a skilled fighter. I did not see that coming. Maybe that was yet another point?
The stunt driver should be commended, though, he/she had some pretty tricks done with effortless flair (+ 1 for talent). So I tip my hat to you, sir/ma'am. Mustangs are not easy to do donuts in.
I was bored an hour into the movie (-.5) and was squirming at the pretentiousness of the director by the second hour (-.5). That by itself says quite a bit seeing as I am an avid moviegoer and watch just about anything. May I reiterate that being reminded of others' work does not dredge feelings of nostalgia, it makes me want my $12 back.
So, unless I didn't do my math correctly, I gave this movie a 3/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow!! Did I miss something here? The biggest drawback of this movie is
the plot: it's barely believable and lacking in substance. While the
soundtrack is very good, it also cannot save the weak dialogue which is
mostly Ryan Gosling staring at people and things and not saying much at
all -- we're supposed to think that's really cool. He also likes to
wear that scorpion jacket even when it's been bloodied. Becoming best
buddies with the neighbor's kid on the first try - really? And then
willing to risk his life even after the neighbor's boyfriend comes back
from prison even though she previously hit on him - really? Also,
outsmarting a police helicopter in LA in the first chase scene -
The whole movie has that whole trying really hard to be cool vibe but it's really not. Overall an extremely disappointing effort. This movie just barely makes it above the big B.
I think we all remember hearing about Ryan Gosling right after 'The
Notebook' came out. Most men, including myself, neglected the man on
his acting ability. It's not a good reason to not really appreciate an
actor. But when it comes to romantic flicks like that, i'm not really
keen on the subject, or it's actors for that matter. But film by film,
this man is starting to impress the hell out of me. Now it's about time
to see what kind of chops this man has when it comes to an action film.
Believe me when i say this.......it is the coolest damn action flick i've seen in quiet some time. It's not your basic shoot em' picture. It has this slight 'noire' edge to it that makes it shine much brighter than the rest.
For starters, let's talk about the pace of the film. Most may call it slow, whereas i call it hypnotic. The lead played by Gosling, is a cold and quiet fellow who barely even speaks, blinks, or give any reference to his emotions. The film is littered with these somewhat awkward pauses by his character........i personally wouldn't call them awkward, because the way the film is presented, it makes them look beautiful. Case in point......in the movie "Heat", you know how Dinero, Kilmer, Sizemore, Trejo barely speak to one another. But the overall feeling is just so entertaining to watch? That's the exact same feeling you get when you watch this picture.
But as the film rolls on, Gosling's character becomes a bit more vibrant. And by that, i mean more gory. It's not the kind of gore you would expect. Not like Tarantino gore, but more like a David Cronenberg gore. (History of Violence, Eastern Promises). You know, the settle, yet explosive gore that you really weren't expecting......which i love. And then the movie does nothing but climb higher and higher with it's level of intensity. It took this stone cold character, and molded him into one cool ass superhero.
But what really sold me on this film was it's overall FEEL. The best example i can give is this........it's a cool mix between "Heat" and "Taxi Driver", with a very artistic edge. I already said that the movie is hypnotic, and i cannot stress that enough. Once the picture starts, your eyes are literally glued to the screen. The cinematography is fantastic, the musical score is hip and awesome, and the acting is top notch. All these elements were executed to perfection.
Bottom Line.......i may go and see this movie again. I rarely ever do that......THAT'S how awesome this was. It's an art-house action flick at it's finest. Both men and women will drool over this movie. If you get the chance, go and see this movie......you will never regret it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ryan Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as an escape
car artist for local thugs. He gets involved in the life of his next
door neighbor, her kid and the husband who owes money to the mafia boss
Gosling's character happens to works for.
The film plays out terribly as the murky and meager plot is all over the place and the pacing of the film so off, it just beggars belief. The many scenes just showing Gosling's blood stained clothes are so slow and stretched that you can see the changing of seasons in the background. And every time our hero starts to talk there's a standard 6 seconds delay before he actually starts to mutter his script lines. Pause in a conversation can add drama to the moment, but I shouldn't have to be tearing the hair from my cranium while watching it.
Action sequences are few and far between and the story itself is done completely by the numbers; excavating only stereotypical behaviour and gratuitous violence from the flimsily drawn out characters. Think of a Tarantino movie you liked, then strip away the interesting characters, the music, the daring plot and sharp dialog. What is left is good cinematography and an incredibly cool choice of font for the end credits.
I'm seriously left dumbfounded as to what prompts people to vote on this miserable excuse for entertainment with more than 6 stars. Perhaps it is the overall quality of films nowadays which seems to be in a hasty decline, rendering people clueless as to what rating to give to a film. But I can safely say that this project is as lifeless as it is artless and I would recommend the 1999 movie Ghost Dog in stead. A movie that shares many parallels with 'Drive' but which is made with far more authenticity, humor and overall class. Not to mention it having an actual silver lining and point to it.
Ryan Gosling brings down the hammer on that line where logic reason and
self preservation become secondary to protecting what is important to
you. There are a few moments where he doesn't just cross that line but
obliterates it completely.
Beautifully crafted pounding action thriller with twisted humor and seriously hard core violence. Compelling tenderness from characters that are unsophisticated in the best sense of the word.
This film will go down as one of the best Action films in decades. Car chases that rival and extend beyond Bullitt and French Connection. Violence that bursts out of the screen like a horror film or a bad dream by David Cronenberg. Passing moments of tenderness that are drawn out until you are slowly pulled into the emotional world of the protagonists.
Something so powerful, especially when it works, is the use of sharp and dramatic Camera Angles in Drive that mirror the emotional moment of the story drawing you into the characters world.
View and angles often extremely low angled and tilted sharply upward, effective at expanding the feeling of voyeurism of being at the dinner table or in the adjacent seat, right in the room with the characters while safely looking up from some shadow or nook or cranny. Very emotionally transcendent cinematography.
Night footage was amazingly successful at capturing the range of light and shadows, on a technical level the audio and video were strong and assured. Not only the first robbery but all the way through the film right up to the final resolution of the plot, the night was a familiar environment for major turns in the story (pun intended).
I will return hopefully soon to expand on this review, but I had to write something tonight because this film is ten times more badass than any Transporter or Fast and Furious fare that is usually sold in their all too obvious packaging.
Drive leaves them all in the Dust.
This filmed was viewed on the Big Screen at the LAFILMFEST screening June 17th 2011
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