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301 out of 521 people found the following review useful:

Running stationary

Author: Slim Jack Rabbit from Planet KzOrp
25 October 2011

*** 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.


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101 out of 126 people found the following review useful:

A Captivating Mix Of Contemporary And Retro Aesthetics

Author: Calum Rhys from Worcester, United Kingdom
4 July 2014

'Drive' is a visceral and brilliantly executed vision of art-house action; possibly one of the greatest art-house films to have graced the screen. Nicolas Winding Refn has created a stylised neo-noir thriller that is simply stunning; full of glorified violence and stroking imagery. The soundtrack is amazing, fully reflecting the films mood, whilst attempting to create an atmospheric feel to accompany the gritty action. 'Drive' is a captivating mix of contemporary and retro aesthetics. A stylish and taut thriller that keeps the audience entertained from start to finish with breathtaking sequences, brutal violence and stunning cinematography, a modern masterpiece that has truly redefined the noir genre.

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332 out of 590 people found the following review useful:

No. Just, no.

Author: Brett Chandler (Thunderbuck) from Whitehorse, Yukon
17 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an awful movie. Perhaps all the more so because there were the ever-so-slight hints that it might have been good.

Watch the first half-hour. Gosling's (unnamed) character, when spoken to, takes ridiculously long pauses--upwards of 10 seconds--to respond.

>>>Spoilers ahead The story is, um, flimsy. Porn-movie flimsy. There is a central crime to this story that never really IS explained very well (sure, it looked really cool when that other car showed up, but... wwwhy was it there, exactly?), and is really the product of a monumental coincidence. Think about it: Gosling just happens to be the driver for a holdup where his neighbor is robbing cash from a pawn shop in a heist that's really been masterminded by... the guy who's bankrolling his race car? Huh? (and, no, the story makes absolutely NO effort to explain this).

As much as I love Ryan Gosling, he's just plain bad here. Maybe not "just plain" bad; spectacularly, pretentiously bad. I know what the creative intent was, that the character was just something of a "blank canvas" that others project their wants and needs on to. The biggest problem here is that Gosling can't tone down the smart and charming enough for us to believe that he's as socially isolated as his character really should be. And, again, he tends to try to substitute blankness for intensity. It doesn't work.

Carey Mulligan is okay, but her character is pretty one-dimensional as well. I got zero chemistry off of the combo of her and Gosling. The kid is basically a prop. I'm sorry, I got absolutely nothing to say why this guy develops an attachment to these two.

When Mulligan's husband appears, there's actually a little tension for a bit, and I began to hope for some substance (especially since he has considerably more chemistry with Mulligan than Gosling does). Sadly, "Standard" is killed off fairly quickly.

There's no shortage of great performers in this movie, and they're mostly wasted. Ron Perlman is so awesomely menacing! And so completely under-written! And what's there is clichéd! God, what were these people thinking? Bryan Cranston has a supporting role as Gosling's partner/boss. A huge opportunity is wasted when his character's interest in the stolen money is just casually discarded. That might have actually GONE somewhere. As a "Breaking Bad" fan, I know just how good he can be, but the writing here is nowhere near as good, and his character, as well, is left adrift.

And Albert Brooks. Who I've loved since "Lost in America". It breaks my heart, because he's actually awesome in this movie. One of the most compelling cinematic criminals since Brando, I kid you not. Thoughtful, emotional, utterly believable, but since he's the only character that we develop even the remotest sympathy for, he's not quite enough to redeem this mess.

I was hoping for some action, at least. And there really isn't much. For a movie about a driver, there honestly isn't that much driving. The movie opens with a not-bad robbery getaway, but there's only one more serious chase later on, and even IT isn't especially noteworthy. Did none of these people even WATCH "Bullitt"? And, speaking of car action, there's one scene where Gosling's character repeatedly rams another car. Hard. Hard enough to send it rolling off a small cliff. And yet, afterwards, we see the front end of his car, seemingly undamaged. Are mid-70s Chevelle parts really that hard to come by? There are legitimate flashes of creativity in "Drive". There are some genuinely original scenes of violence (and, to be fair, well-executed). Had the story and characters risen to a level where the audience might have cared, well, this might have been a different movie.

This is one of those "emperor's-new-clothes" things the movie industry pulls on the public every once in a while. Don't fall for it.

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284 out of 509 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic retro action with art-house flair!

Author: markdroulston from New Zealand
27 August 2011

It seems to be the case nowadays that film audiences, particularly at this time of year as the summer winds down, are left with a choice of seeing the latest broad appeal movies filling the multiplexes, or venturing to the local independent cinema in search of more intellectual fare. Very rarely will a film transcend these boundaries and offer a mix of Hollywood-style action and art-house flair, which is what makes Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive so unique and something to be celebrated.

Drive tells the story of an unnamed stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) moonlighting as a getaway driver for a crime syndicate run by Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks). Seemingly a loner, the driver becomes involved in the life of his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son Benicio (Kaden Leos). After agreeing to drive for Irene's newly paroled husband Standard (Oscar Isaac), and finding himself on the wrong side of assassination contract, the driver embarks on a mission to protect Irene from the vicious gangsters who would seek to harm her to get at him. It's a well-worn plot line which in the hands of someone less adept than Refn would likely be nothing more than a forgettable thriller, yet the massively talented director, who picked up the Best Director prize at Cannes this year for Drive, crafts an engaging and thrilling throwback film elevated by masterful performances across the board.

Refn, previously known for the fantastic Bronson, and the lesser known but equally excellent Pusher trilogy, is a man who has very clearly studied his Kubrick. Certainly most modern directors could do worse than imitate the style of one of history's greats like Stanley Kubrick, but rarely does one pull it off with the skill of Refn. In Bronson, the influence was a little more obvious, with the resulting film seeming like something of a spiritual successor to A Clockwork Orange. With Drive however, the traces are a little more subtle, visible in the impeccable technical touches, and the use of dissolves, pensive long takes, and slow zooms, a hallmark of Kubrick's catalogue. Drive is a flawlessly crafted film, filled with beautiful imagery of the Los Angeles underworld seen more often in the work of Michael Mann.

The technical achievements of Drive are more than matched by the acting of the entire cast, and Refn shrewdly selects a wide variety of performers to populate the story. Top notch support comes from Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, the ever dependable Ron Perlman, and particularly Brooks, who jettisons his familiar comedic persona in a truly frightening and villainous performance, which will surely be on the radar of voters come awards season. Mulligan shows characteristic heart in a largely overlooked role, yet the film unquestionably belongs to Gosling. Often heralded as one of the finest actors of his generation, in Drive Gosling delivers his best work yet as the driver; a quiet role that is all the more effective due to the subtlety of the performance. He displays an ability to ratchet up the tension using just the slightest widening of his eyes and tensing of his jawline, and when the character is pushed to act more forcefully, Gosling transitions from almost silent observer to brutal aggressor so swiftly that it leaves one breathless. It's work that he makes look easy, yet it's the most focused performance seen in an action film in quite some time.

There's something undeniably retro about Drive, with its neon opening titles and 80s infused soundtrack, but the film seems remarkably fresh. Smart action filmmaking is so hard to come by these days, so Drive delivers refreshing variety, beginning the time of year when the so-called prestige pictures are released with a bang.

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136 out of 216 people found the following review useful:

Drive through LA

Author: recoltes from Ireland
30 September 2011

A haunting movie with a stilted atmosphere reminiscent of Mulholland Drive though in an altogether different genre. The pink credits beginning the movie and the music throughout are pure eighties and set an offbeat tone against the contemporary LA streets and skyline. Great character studies punctuated by violent action scenes keep the audience immersed in this blood bath of a movie. Some powerful performances, stylish direction and intricate plotting complete this strangely understated production. Drive may not deliver box office gold in the short term though will certainly be paying long term dividends as a reference point for future film noir writers, directors and fans.

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244 out of 435 people found the following review useful:

Boring, long, annoying, and too stupid to live

Author: CharlesCalthrop from Cupertino, California
19 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First the good: Drive is cast with excellent actors. Now for the bad. Based on this picture you would not know that most of the cast could act at all. Gosling's performance makes wooden seem lifelike. This must be due to direction because Gosling has been in several recent pictures and has acted up a storm in all of them. Gosling, Mulligan, Cranston, Brooks, and Hendricks are all interesting, accomplished actors. My question is: how did they get sucked into this horrible picture? Either the script that was shot was different from the script they read, or they had guns pointed at their heads.

Every plot element of Drive was so unrealistic that I found it impossible to suspend belief. The characters are equally unbelievable. Less than an hour into the picture I knew how it would end. The only question was whether Gosling's character would survive, but by that point I didn't care. All the characters were too stupid to live. Violence has its place in film, but it is not a substitute for characters, a plot, and a story even when the stupid are getting their just deserts.

Nothing in this picture hasn't been well done in other movies. Drive is derivative of Layer Cake, for example. If you want to see what Drive was trying to be, rent Layer Cake.

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134 out of 227 people found the following review useful:

Don't believe the Hype... ,Pointless, Boring exercise in Nihilism

Author: mdfaraone from United States
19 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I want my two hours back. I am convinced critics will only give a positive review if a movie is depressing and nihilistic. Don't believe the hype that this is some cinematic artistic achievement, when over 30 minutes of a two hour run time is filled with dead silence or overly long awkward pauses in dialogue , it's not "hip and artistic" it's just boring, nor is it "stylish and clever" when our main protagonist , who clearly has the upper hand at the end, defies common sense by putting himself needlessly in danger and not taking necessary precautions. I also don't find the retro 80s styling and soundtrack of a movie set in modern times to be "artistic brilliance" either, it's just distracting and awkward. Even our heroes' intentions seem to defy common sense,...risk your life for a girl you didn't even screw,a kid that's not yours, and her ex-con husband who doesn't even like you, that's not heroic, that's idiotic. If you want to be duped by critics who would have you believe this is "stylish and clever neo noir" go ahead and waste your time and money, but trust me ,once you dissect this movie for what it really is, it becomes a pointless exercise in nihilism whose plot points defy logic, common sense, and motivation, all glossed over by an over-stylized retro-80s feel and boring silence and self contemplation. Were there some good action sequences?, yes, but if you add them all up they take up about ten minutes of the run time. This one is a DVD rental at best, and by the way, if you saw this directors other film, "Valhalla Rising", even though the subject matter may seem completely different the theme and ending are basically exactly the same.

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79 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

I Tried

Author: africanchief23 from Norway
24 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really tried to like this movie but honestly it was pretty strange. First of all there's no real story. I feel no connection to any of the characters or the acting. Gosling is this weird arrogant silent guy that we never learn much about. All the other characters are quite cliché. The coincidence is also pretty strange that Gosling happened to live in the same floor as the guy he wants to help with money problems is actually in dirty business with the guy sponsoring Gosling. Plus the movie is called "drive." I expected to see little more stunts than just unrealistic and unnecessary handbrake spinning in only one scene. The filming and setting were the only good things about this movie. Not even the music was catchy. I feel like I've been have a strange plot less and lifeless dream while watching this movie. NO substance at all and strange acting i will rate this movie maximum a 6.8. I don't understand what the hype is and why people are going crazy about it. It really is something just to pass time let alone a masterpiece. As if everything mentioned wasn't bad enough the violence is just downright ridiculous and again unnecessary. Who is one second kiss a girl romantically and the next second bashing someones skull open. I don't even know what else to say, this is a movie i will remember for being slow and strange.

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84 out of 143 people found the following review useful:

Truly terrible film

Author: samanthasutherland
2 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Truly awful film. So awful that I joined up to IMDb so I could give it a rating and redress the ridiculously inflated rating this film has! It's the first time I've been completely let down by IMDb's points out of 10. I haven't seen all those films people mention from the 70s and 80's with a steely main man of few words and tough fists that apparently make this film so much more meaningful but who cares, you shouldn't have to have studied cinema to enjoy a film.

So much gratuitous violence. Really, stabbing someone to death with a fork for I'm-not-quite-sure-what?? And was there any need for the jugular gyser? Disgusting, and none of the gore added anything to the film. Ohhhh so sh!t.

There was minimal plot and no character development of anyone, and not enough background to make it all make sense. Nothing to explain why he developed such an attachment to the girl and kid, and then so ridiculous to think he'd stomp the guy's head apart to exploding when in the lift, in front of the girl that he loves, to protect her from a guy who just seemed to be there on a reconnaissance mission.

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59 out of 94 people found the following review useful:

Emperors New Clothes

Author: jasper-173-283049 from United Kingdom
30 January 2012

Seriously people, don't believe the ridiculous hype about this movie, it is without doubt one of the worst movies I have seen in the last year. My wife and I are huge movie fans and watch on average 5 new films a week, 10 minutes into this film we are both looking at each other with a 'is this movie for real' look on our faces, and by the end we realised we had just wasted 2 hours of our lives we would never get back again.

Rylan Gosling is a total joke from start to finish, his total lack of any script is just the start, in fact by the end of the film (and yes we did make it to the end, somehow) I was glad he still wasn't saying much, and the little that did come from it was just clichéd nonsense. This man cannot do the strong silent brooding type at all, especially not wearing a daft white satin jacket with, wait for it ..... a scorpion on the back, and a toothpick in his mouth.

The plot, what there was of it, is so old and tired and so overdone, the whole film was completely predictable. None of the characters have any depth or interest to them, probably due to the lack of any script. Even Carey Mulligan, who is a real favourite of ours, was wasted and looked rather uncomfortable in her rather dull character - the single mum at home. And the clichés just continued at Ryan became the child's new 'best friend'.

The violence is also completely at odds with the rest of the film. It is extreme, graphic and vicious, which is fine and dandy if the rest of the film demands it, unfortunately this film doesn't and it looks like it's been thrown in just for shock value.

I really cannot understand why such a piece of second rate and boring drivel has got such amazing reviews on here and from some critics. Just before this we watched The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly again, now that has everything this movie doesn't but seems to be trying so hard to emulate - characters that aren't black and white, minimal dialogue to add to the tension, and stunning camera-work to keep you captivated.

Save your time and money and watch this classic instead, Drive has nothing to offer but annoyance and the WORST soundtrack I've ever heard.

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