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Drive is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and adapted to screenplay by
Hossein Amini from the novel of the same name written by James Sallis.
It stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks,
Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks and Ron Perlman. Music is by Cliff
Martinez and cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel.
Driver (Gosling) has a day job, he's a Hollywood stunt man, but by night he makes the serious cash as a getaway driver for the criminal fraternity. Into his life comes married next door neighbour Irene (Mulligan) and her little boy Benicio (Kaden Leos), pitching him right into the middle of two wars; one is for his emotional worth, the other with the criminal underworld.
Real human being, and a real hero.
They cheered at Cannes, it has garnered instant cult classic status as well as gushing critical praise, Drive is arguably the biggest surprise of 2011. Some would debate that it arrived in a year that was dominated by blockbuster brain drains and pretentious parables, meaning it wouldn't take much for something like Drive to find a favourable audience. Yet Drive is a special movie, the surprise being that it delivers a different film to what the plot synopsis suggests. There would have been many disappointed that it didn't turn out to be something akin to The Fast & The Furious 19, but as its reputation grows, one likes to think that many also had their senses tingled unexpectedly by Refn's western done out in 1980s neo noir attire.
Yes, at first glance it looks like a simple story given over to style over substance leanings, where the fact that our laconic protagonist is not prone to dialogue expansion, could lend argumentative weight to those potential dissenters only skimming the surface of the picture. But the material is in excellent hands, with Refn, Sigel, Gosling and co, calmly unravelling Amini's stripped down screenplay to reveal a gritty urban fable that's laced with ethereal overtones. A picture where a look means more than any words can express, a subtle holding of hands reveals many layers peeling, and then the serene state of play often gets punctured by bouts of shocking violence, yet always it remains a picture big on intelligence, beating a mighty heart in the process.
Propelling the picture forward is the complexity of Gosling's driver character. He has no back story for us to work from, and he gives nothing away outside of the tender bond formed with Irene and child. He is actually one of many purposeful grey areas (or should that be gris areas?) within the plot structure. We learn just enough to be on his side, a noble but flawed hero battling against fate as he fights for the innocent, he be Shane for a modern pot boiling Los Angeles. Helps, too, that he's so cool behind the wheel, where he mines Steve McQueen's effortless charisma. Refn delivers magic moments of car play, from the near ten minute opening getaway extended sequence, to a high speed kill or be killed pursuit, when the action flows it really pumps the adrenalin.
Gosling is amazing, instantly iconic, soft voice matching his soft blue eyes, toothpick perched between teeth, it's a testament to his acting ability that the requisite homages to iconic characters of movies past never veers into parody territory. It's with the calm moments that he triumphs most, be it watching TV with the boy Benicio or just gazing intensely into Irene's eyes, Gosling has a magnetic quality of some significance. Mulligan, too, is wonderful, deftly underplaying Irene to work off of Gosling to create heart aching tenderness, their chemistry superb. Isaac does fine work with the ex-con/husband character that is thankfully not stereotypical, Brooks is Colm Meaney like, thriving on simmering badness, while Cranston puts real heart into the role of Driver's garage boss, the closest thing the Driver has to a pal. The only one dimensional character lands in Perlman's court, but Perlman is such an ebullient and watchable life force the film survives the character's oafness.
From the opening pink neon credits, accompanied by the synth plink of a retro 80s soundtrack (a soundtrack so memorable it lands in the ears and stays there for days), it's evident that Refn is a man who takes his style serious. Drive is full of classy (yes arty) passages, fluid camera movements, single takes, non central framing of characters, slow motion unfurls and eye dazzling chopper shots of a neon lighted L.A., the director has an eye for the quality required to cloak his story. He of course is aided considerably by his editor Matthew Newman, and Sigel's photography. The former is dealing in seamless precision, the latter a master of shades (a lift sequence is to, ahem, die for) and colour toning delights. Marking this out as a Blu-ray essential.
You can name about ten films that Drive has been either likened too or put forward as an influence, and Refn's work here has been touted as an offspring created by Michael Mann, Walter Hill, William Friedkin and Sergio Leone (all viable and all actually high praise indeed). But rest assured, Drive is still fresh and exciting, the perfect movie package. Refn's masterpiece and one of the best films of 2011. 10/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lets start with the move "Drive". Now I enjoy watching Ryan Gosling perform his craft in front of us. I mean hey he looks good, has a nice build (no homo) and has drawn me into his character in many of his previous roles and seems to be very specific on his choice of roles. That is what drew me to this movie in the first place, so within the first 15 I even paused the movie twice. (The first was to tell the wife that "ooh this movie is going to be AWESOME!! and the second was to go make a fresh bag of popcorn so I can fully enjoy this exciting experience). After the first scene my excitement started to decline faster than my bank account did as the recession hit the industry I worked in 2006!! I see the reviews and its got an average 8.0/10.
I loved pink font as the movie begins and I loved the music, hell I even loved the silver 80's jacket Gosling sported in the flick giving the movie a style, a personality, some culture and even the reason we watch most movies..... FUN.... However a movie named "Drive" and what some confused critics were saying "best car chase scenes since Bullet" lacked what your led to believe this move is about. This movie had such great potential and was just mis-directed!. "Drive" had two car chase scenes one of which had a 400 plus horsepower Mustang GT being caught by a stock 300C Chrysler, I mean if the chase would have lasted longer than 4 minutes I wouldn't be too upset. Now take the chase scenes out and the style Gosling brought and you got superb acting by Bryan Cranston and Albert Brooks that cant even save the weak dialog and scenes that don't connect that ruined this movie.
There were parts in the movie that had numerous scenes of characters just blankly staring into a television or an emptiness at a wall that had me asking my wife "is it me or is nobody even speaking throughout half this movie?" I believe this movie had ALL the ingredients to become a classic. Great cast, a possibility to have car chases, a want to connect with the star, violence, blood, a little gore, good plot, great cinematography and just a good old fashion root for the bad guy (Gosling) hell as a matter of fact everybody was a bad guy in this movie !! It sounds perfect and with a better director and a little more excitement with car chase scenes and how about some dialogue for the characters to speak, this movie just plain fell short of all expectations and at best deserves a 5 out of 10 RATING.
RATING 5 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can only conjecture from the extremely inflated ratings on this movie
that Ryan Gosling is some sort of teenage heartthrob. Really, people
think that this is an excellent film?
To me, it views like a cross between Fargo and Friday the Thirteenth. Ryan Gosling is the strong, brooding silent type, and he gets involved with a bunch of losers. Only a woman with whom he never really has a relationship (???--unclear) has the power to cause him to renounce his "code" of "drive only: no weapons or violence". No one, however, not even a cute as a high school prom queen single mother whose husband is in prison, can get him to drop the soggy toothpick. At one point, he stows it behind his ear. No, I am not kidding.
I laughed through the vicious killing spree and marveled at the "creative" use of all manner of implements of homicide. There must be something seriously wrong with our culture if people regard this sort of pastiche of extreme violence as entertaining or interesting or ... anything.
The stereotypical "White Knight" appears in many films, but the role of
the Driver ranks as one of the most brutal and explosive, while
maintaining heroism to date.
Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and released on September 16, 2011 in the United States, is a beautiful art-house film reminiscent of the Tarantino's style in Pulp Fiction. Ryan Gosling gives an explosive performance in a movie that is surprisingly but tastefully minimalist.
The film stars Ryan Gosling as the Driver, an unnamed professional driver who holds jobs as mechanic and stunt driver during the day, and has a secret identity as a getaway driver. The Driver meets a girl, Irene (Carey Mulligan), in his apartment elevator and falls in love with her, even though she is married and her husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), is in jail. After the two have bonded and everything seems to be going well, Standard returns from jail with a debt to pay, which jeopardizes the safety of the girl and her son. The Driver decides to help Standard repay his debt and keep Irene and her son safe by driving for a heist being pulled by Standard as repayment.
The cinematography is one of the main factors why the film is so successful. Refn took great care to create an amazingly real experience. During the tensest parts of the film, where a Hollywood movie would have used music to create suspense, Refn relies on the uncomfortable silence (successfully) to create tension. The film is set in gritty Los Angeles and has intertextual references to Walter Hill's The Driver through similar plots, setting in downtown Los Angeles, and mainly silent protagonists.
Drive is a great thrill ride that is truly beautiful, and adds a real, believable atmosphere to the world in which it is set. This brutal but tasteful film will be enjoyably experienced by many.
To be sure, Drive has it's moments. The actors don't let the material
down at all, this is a clear case of an editor not knowing when and
where to trim. The movie contains a half dozen exceptional set-pieces,
but mixed with this is some dialogue "so corny it would make the pope
weep" and long boring stretches that make the viewer want to yell "step
The mortar holding the project together is a unique score by Cliff Martinez that adds an eerie 80's vibe to the entire thing. Bryan Cranston is decent but isn't given much to work with. By the time Albert Brooks waddles into frame for the 2nd or 3rd time I was thoroughly bored. Despite the hype and aspirations to be something greater than it is, Drive suffers from childish dialogue and bad pacing. The opening scene is truly awesome, it's too bad they can't follow it up at all.
There are plenty of interesting bits in "drive" but the whole is weaker than the sum of it's parts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You wouldn't expect 'Drive' to be so subtle, you would expect it to be
a high-octane thriller with a new twist every step of the way. I'm glad
it was not as I had expected, I was pleasantly surprised with this
The acting is good, the down-played dialogue between practically all of the characters works well for the most part. Ryan Gosling is excellent and because this is the first film I have seen him in I would be convinced to watch more of his roles. The main thing that I noticed with the dialogue was even when Gosling and Carey Mulligan's characters were not talking, you couldn't help but smile. It's very difficult to evoke emotion from the audience with hardly any dialogue. At some points it can be slightly frustrating however, there are some points where you desperately want someone to say something!
The car chased and car scenes in general are brilliant. For too long we have seen the CGI routines of the Fast and Furious series on the big screen and we often mistake that for talent. 'Drive' shows us how a car chase should be shot!
The music has a great impact on this film, the 80s style techno music alongside the beautiful camera work in scenes with Gosling and Mulligan convert LA's littered streets and landscape into sheer beauty.
The script is extremely clever, for at least an hour the film is slow moving but good, with the characters all getting along well and slowly we see the protagonist become more and more violent - the violence in this film can be quite shocking and is extremely graphic in some points.
I have never been a tremendous fan of car films but this is an exception. I wouldn't even say it is a car film, it focuses a lot more on human relationships despite most shots being in the interior of a car. I can see why this was one of the films of 2011, it fools you on numerous occasions and leaves you thinking 'wow'. I would strongly recommend this film to anyone, even if you're not a fan of car films, you will still enjoy this film greatly.
People who believe every thing they see on TV will not like this movie,
the trailer makes it look like a stupid fast and furious rip-off, a
type of movie for people that applaud at the end of the movie and laugh
at stupid jokes or dog whistle when an attractive women walks on the
screen BUT THANK THE MOVIE GODS its not. People going to a movie
because there was action in the trailers only to be disappointed by a
movie that was actually really good... does that remind you of
anything? well for me it reminded me of fight club, stupid people
coming back from the cinemas saying the movie was bad because Brad Pitt
wasn't beating on someone for every waking minute of the movie.
So to summaries "Driver" is very good, Ryan Goslings best.. so far, and people who come to you and say "that movie was boring, Ryan Gosling wasn't racing around everywhere having sex with things and shooting people" are idiots.
Something about Ryan Gosling caught my eye when I first saw him in
"Murder by Numbers". Opposite Sandra Bullock, I was heavily mistaken
for underestimating this relatively new actor. After "Fracture",
Gosling had my full attention. Not only did he refuse to be outdone by
the legendary Anthony Hopkins, Gosling vindicated his star power as an
up and coming actor with some serious screen charisma. With "Drive",
Gosling smashes it out of the park. The best part? He doesn't even say
much in the movie but gets it done through sheer screen presence.
Adapted from a short story of the same name, Gosling plays a nameless Hollywood stunt car driver and mechanic, who also moonlights as a getaway car driver. As the getaway driver, his rules are simple: burglars must finish the job within a five minute window and never contact him for another heist. After helping his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), and her young son, with car trouble, The Driver starts to spend time with them. Just when an air of attraction develops between The Driver and Irene, her husband Standard (Oscar Isaac), is released from prison. From here on, things turn ugly for everyone. Standard owes mobsters money for protection during his time in prison. The Driver helps Standard in what should be an easy 'in-out' heist, but the job is a setup and our hero ends up running the gauntlet with mobsters Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman).
There are three names that I think deserve high praise for this movie. Aside from Gosling, director Nicolas Winding Refn does a phenomenal job with almost every aspect of this film. There are flaws, some factual and some due to obvious oversight in editing, but in giving Refn the benefit of the doubt, on a whole this movie is one fine piece of work. What works for Refn is the mood he creates when setting up a brooding atmosphere, along with the 1970s period setting. This is the result of seamlessly integrating an exceptional score by Cliff Martinez with intentionally mute moments. Evidently, Refn also pays attention to cinematography that focuses on a first-person perspective, literally putting the viewer in the driver's seat. Even so, you get a feel of the world surrounding The Driver, but his past always remains a mystery. It is this mysterious past, complimented with a haunting atmosphere that gives The Driver an almost super-human personality. Towards the end, this personality makes him appear unstoppable as a man on a mission.
Coming back to characterization, and as I said before, Gosling owns it. He fits snug behind the skin of his character in a way that dates back to the days of a younger and angrier Clint Eastwood. I am not placing Gosling on par with the legend that is Eastwood; rather that Gosling's characterization of an anti-hero is memorable and justifies comparison to the likes of Eastwood, or even Robert De Niro for that matter. When it comes to Mulligan and Gosling in the same frame, the atmosphere shifts to a whole new level arising from just flirtatious eye contact. There is a definite yet restrained sensuality between both characters and even for the few muted scenes they are together, on-screen chemistry is obvious. Another worthy mention is Brooks as the cynical antagonist with a thing for blades. Incidentally, Brooks does it better than Perlman, where both play mafia foot soldiers.
I recommend this as a must watch for its style, story, portrayals and artistic visuals. The narration flows at a steady pace but gradually picks up momentum towards the end and includes some scenes of extreme violence when you least expect it. Thankfully, Refn doesn't dwell too long on scenes of blood and gore.
The guy doesn't even have a name. He doesn't speak too much and when he speaks he doesn't make threats, he makes promises that the bad guys gonna get it! Just like in Dirty Harry... The movie has this 70's feeling but in a way that will make true cinema fans to look back with nostalgia. You almost expect Starsky and Hutch to start chasing the guy. And Ryan Gostling - he got the idea and played it perfectly. Really, the atmosphere is amazing and the soundtrack is adding to the amazingness of this masterpiece. The main theme, "A real hero" from College ft. Electric Youth - awesome piece. I rarely write about movies on IMDb.com, but this one - you should really see it. What are you waiting for? Go get some popcorn...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Certainly, 'Drive' is a thriller. A different and unexpected type of
thriller. Whoever has seen this film will remember maybe the story
line, and a few action sequences, some of them extremely violent. They
will remember first of all the two principal characters and their
almost unreal lover story, they will remember the calm and focused look
of Ryan Gosling (we never get to know the name of his character, he is
just the Driver) which blurs into tenderness when he crosses the
restraint smile of Irene (Carey Mulligan). One kiss followed by a
violent kill, this is the only physical contact the two will ever make
It may take a good 30 minutes for the viewer to decide what this film is about, but then things become clear. It is the most impossible and most beautiful love story we have seen in a while, disguised in a violent action movie. He is a stuntman, and a potential race driver who does not get to the race tracks, but races for burglars, helping them escape the location of their crimes. She is her floor neighbor, she has a kid and a husband in jail. When things seem to converge to some domestic low class drama located in the non-privileged area of Los Angeles, the husband returns from jail, gets soon into trouble, and the Driver is the only one who can potentially help him. Or drive him to his destiny. From here the second half of the film becomes one of the most violent I have seen recently on mainstream cinema, all packaged by director Nicolas Winding Refn in 70s style cinematography mixed with classic cars races.
The sincere and straightforward acting and the day to day appearance of the main characters make the violence (and there is violence!) even more striking. And yet, the overall impression 'Drive' left to me was of one of the most sensible films I have seen recently, with emotion surging up from a very unexpected place. My only problem is that I am not sure to whom this film would be recommended. Action films fans may find a little bit too sentimentality here, romantic movies fans may be shocked by the violence. To all, give this film a try!
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