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Reviews & Ratings for
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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Real hero

7/10
Author: guniko
26 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Driver(Ryan Gosling) is a mysterious protagonist. The movie takes place in present time and we don't know anything about his past or his future. He doesn't have a name. We know that he is a professional getaway driver and he seems to be living a low profile life before he meets his next-door neighbors. A mother and her son...

We don't know why he was driving around before but from that moment on, his actions are driven only by love. He embraces them as his own family and protects them instinctively. He becomes their 'hero' but can't protect them from getting hurt. The controlling idea of the movie is "A real human being' can be 'a real hero' only to the limit that his/her environment (destiny) allows." Director presents this complex character almost like a cowboy in a wild terrain. Extreme long shots of him in the middle of nowhere, driving his car to the close ups of the face that has little clues of emotion…

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I have mixed feelings about this film.

5/10
Author: bg11215-366-263177 from Los Angeles, CA
7 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the one hand, there is some directorial brilliance in it, and the cinematography is brilliant. It's beautifully stylized, the work of an auteur. However, it also contains some EXTREME violence, to the point that it was very disturbing to me and I wished I hadn't seen it (the motel scene, elevator scene to name but two of the five or six scenes containing extreme violence). Some people might be able to stomach it, but it was so gruesome & graphic that I really truly wish that I hadn't seen it. I am of the opinion that excessive violence is not needed to tell a story.

Moving on to the actual story, I found that it dragged in places, particularly around the 30-40 minute mark, where I began to wonder "is this going to go anywhere"? Then the story lines slowly developed, but remained however a bit under-developed. But for the kind of movie that it is, I don't think this is particularly a handicap; this type of violent action thriller doesn't need a deep story; some high speed car chases and shootouts apparently will do just fine.

Ryan Gossling's understated portrayal of his character was both a bit confusing and brilliant. He says so little during most of his scenes that it had me wondering, "is there any emotional depth to this character?" That question was soon answered in the way that Gossling proceeds to pick off his adversaries one by one, which was kind of bad-ass. Part of the main story line was a bit muddled (for me anyway), and again, I just wish that I had known about the violence ahead of time so that I could have looked away during certain scenes. Extreme violence is apparently this director's trademark.

To summarize: again there was some brilliance in this film, but I wish that they had focused more on developing the story and in finding alternate ways of portraying the story than resorting to the shock value of such extremely disturbing violence. That's why I only gave it 5 stars.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This is why I love films

Author: Jenny_4120 from United States
29 January 2013

This film is just one of those movies that wakes you up because of its uniqueness and makes you realize that not all movie scenes and plots you can expect. Almost every movie out there, are so predictable. You can judge a movie based on how many explosions there are, or if there's a love affair, how it'll turn out in the end. The fact is, however, the movie "Drive" follows more of an unconventional, yet more realistic plot. I won't say what happens, but just know that it's not what you think. In my viewing of the movie, I knew right off the bat that I couldn't expect a single thing to happen. I was sucked into the movie because I had to know what was going to happen. To my surprise, what actually happened was neither what I expected nor what I didn't expect. Up until the end of the movie, the movie itself was playing with my mind, telling me "this is how it is" not "this is how you would have wanted it". I enjoyed it immensely, and I hope other viewers will do the same, if they haven't already.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

If David Lynch directed The Transporter

7/10
Author: Shawn Watson from The Penumbra
15 January 2013

Ryan Gosling overtakes Jason Statham as the stoic man behind the wheel. Like his bald-headed rival he gets into trouble when distracted by a woman and is hurled into a plot involving gangsters and hit men. While Louis Leterrier's French thriller tried so hard to be Hollywood, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's LA-based thriller tries very hard to be European, and takes the viewer on a ride down a lost highway.

At the same time it also comes across as a secret remake of Walter Hill's The Driver. All of these films are very, very similar, but Drive is the best of them. It's difficult to comprehensively review the movie as it is very minimalistic and focuses more on atmosphere and the quiet moments in between dialogue rather than action and twists. It's a wonderful movie to look at though, and I do want to complain about how problematic the morals and values of the unnamed 'Driver' are, but if it is the intention to make him morally ambiguous then I guess it is successful. It doesn't make for a great character regardless of how smooth Gosling plays him.

The violence is harrowing and brutal, as it is in real life. Nicolas Winding Refn seems to understand that there is no action in real life, there is only violence, and it's brutal and ugly and not something any sane person wants to happen to them. In this respect it is far more grown-up than The Transporter but cannot be praised as being a 'better' film as it is still sold on style and visuals. The substance takes a back seat and the movie apologetically delivers what it wants without feeling the need to scream for attention. I have to respect it for that.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Drove me the right way

8/10
Author: Maz Murdoch (asda-man) from United Kingdom
11 January 2013

I wasn't really too sure with what to expect with Drive. People were calling it an incredibly slow art-house movie, which I don't mind at all, I'm quite fond of the odd good art-house movie e.g. "We Need To Talk About Kevin" is a firm favourite of mine. I also had high expectations however, as a lot of people were raving about it like it was the greatest achievement of film ever! So I went in with an open mind and found myself being very fond of it. Drive is a film which I shall definitely give a second run around the block again.

Drive opens fantastically! It perfectly captures the dangers of being a get-away driver. It's a thrilling chase scene with Ryan Gosling trying to evade the police and is beautifully shot. It tries to rely more on realism than go for the cheap quick-cut and shaky-cam thrills which the Fast and the Furious franchise aims to deliver. Drive takes a slower pace and has much more of an interest in character than action, which is a good thing to me. The slow direction perfectly conveys the loneliness of Ryan Gosling, but also shows that he's in control. He's a severely calm and methodical person, who you wouldn't really like to get on the wrong side with.

The main show in Drive is the near-perfect directing, cinematography and lighting. Drive is a master-class in these elements as it's obvious that every shot was set up with great care and precision. There's not one piece of lighting out of place and the cinematography is quite astounding at times. It's incredibly easy on the eyes and carries a very cool charm with it. I loved the realism of the film and the shocking violence was used with reason, and almost reminiscent of a Haneke film, with short and shocking bursts of extreme violence. However, like Goodfellas, it is used to show the nasty and unglamourous side of the mob industry.

I also really liked the love story told. There's some chemistry between Ryan and Carey, and although they don't really say a lot to each other, the connection between them is definitely there. Things between to hot up when Carey's husband is released from jail and things take quite an unpredictable turn for the worst. The final half hour or so may be slow, but it is still undeniably thrilling and realistic. There a some beautifully shot sequences that will stay with me for a long time. The finale is also very gripping, and you care about the characters involved.

Overall, there's something about Drive that makes it unique and different to other films. It has certainly got under my skin and is an experience I shall look forward to again. The soundtrack perfectly engulfs the retro feel of the film and the directing is almost as stylish as Tarantino. Lovers of dialogue may be disappointed but there is certainly more dialogue than what some people say. I was expecting a film like "Hunger" where nothing's said for what feels like an hour, until a non-stop 15 minute talk-fest! Drive is nothing like that. It just takes a somewhat different and unconventional approach from the average Hollywood production. Drive's a film of quality and one I won't be forgetting in a hurry!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Drive away from this one

1/10
Author: angus-silvie-939-506861 from London, England
4 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After I have watched a film I usually have a guess at what the IMDb rating is before logging on, and, taking into account that every film has people who love it and people who despise it, my guesses are usually pretty accurate, often spot on. Drive is the first film where I was way out: I predicted a generous 5.4 and was astonished to see 7.9! It does seem that many people have mistaken long dull scenes where nothing happens (eg a car drives along a road in a town with little traffic, we see the windscreen view of it driving along, crossing some traffic lights, then carrying on down the road, then driving along for a bit more, all in silence, then after a while we suddenly cut to the next scene) for art-house creativity. I would call it 'let-down' filming: you watch the scene because you assume a bad-guy car is going to come racing out of a sidestreet and launch into a chase so you are a little on edge, but nothing happens so you just think 'eh? what was the point of that?'.

Now, the acting. Albert Brooks was good, Bryan Cranston did the best he could with the material, but the rest of them.... I am sure Ryan Gosling is usually a fine actor but here he had two facial expressions: Blank Stare and Slow Annoying Grin. But worse than all of that was what all the other negative reviews have mentioned: the silence.

If someone asks you a question, in real life the human race generally gets along by giving some sort of answer, even if it is a mumble. If you walk into your place of employment and your boss and friend who has given you a job for the last 6 years sees you and says "How yer doin', kid?' I would expect you to reply 'fine thanks', or something similar. Here though, our man says nothing. So the boss rambles on, hands him the keys to a car, tells him about the car etc etc, while our man takes the keys and gets in, continuing to say nothing. Is that even remotely realistic? Apart from anything else it is just rude.

And so it goes on, all through the film. Questions answered with a stare. Some questions rewarded with a short comment, but only after a long silence during which a slow look at the floor then back up again is all the viewer can enjoy. Everyone seems to accept this behaviour as normal and just go on to ask another question or smile quizzically back but in the real world someone would have punched his lights out long ago. He was driving me mad, I actually found myself shouting "Say something, dammit!" at the screen, in a vain attempt to move things along a bit.

Talking of driving, there wasn't much of it in the film despite the title. The violence was contrived to make it more shocking than it needed to be, Ron Perlman's character swore uncontrollably for no reason other than make him sound like the Big Gangster even though there are far more effective ways of getting this across, and the whole plot just seemed unlikely. Yes, I know it is fiction so sometimes you must suspend belief but you have to be able to connect with what you are watching and in this case I couldn't. For example, a man watches another man drive unremarkably around a circuit for a while and this convinces him to invest $300,000 in the man to race cars? The same man decides that the best way to kill a petty crook who hasn't done him any harm is not to use a knife, but first select the fork to inflict some light torture, then go back for the knife? Our driver puts his foot down in a 300bhp car but all the cars around it seem to continue to be going at the same speed; at the end he leaves all the money behind, he is also impervious to a serious and deep stab wound.... and so on. It all seemed a bit weak in the 'believability' department.

When another reviewer said they should have put an 'l' at the end of the title they weren't far wrong. To all those who think this is a wonderful film, count up the number of people like me who don't normally write reviews but felt compelled to do so in order to give it one star, we can't all be philistines who don't appreciate a good film when we see one. There are better films out there, there really are.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

'a guy that rarely speaks drives around for a living.. Chewing a toothpick (so what)'

5/10
Author: a-droushiotis
30 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The recipe did not work for me at all. All the ingredients where there, but the chef... was not. I tried really hard to stay awake. Such a shame. Slow and boring. Tried twice to watch it, and i had to give it a third try. Totally unbalanced with R. Gosling's talent absent throughout the movie. Dark, with loud music, no dialog and numerous pointless scenes, this film is certainly overrated by some reviewers. The director tried hard to push it as an artistic effort but failed in the process. The film had a fair opening (since when can somebody outsmart... a helicopter and half of the police force...chewing a toothpaste and driving around), a plot plot and a bad ending. I had to give it a 5 out of ten because i like Gosling.What a Yawn!!!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Quite a ride

8/10
Author: cedde6 from London UK
26 January 2013

I've avoided "Drive" for as long as I could. Although most of the reviews I've read or what I've heard from friends were unanimously positive, they often mentioned in passing, almost as an afterthought, its rather graphic violence. For a horror movie buff, I have turned rather squeamish of realistic violence in my mature days and "Drive"'s brutal reputation had made me quite apprehensive about it. After incessant recommendations from my friend Rory (a movie buff by my own heart), claiming loud and clear that it was possibly one of the best films of 2011 and that I was bound to love it, I eventually surrendered, took a deep breath, sat down and watched it...

The Driver (Ryan Gosling), stuntman, mechanic and driver to stickups (not necessarily in that order) gets in serious trouble (read Mafia type of serious trouble) when helping the recently released from prison husband of his beautiful neighbour (Carey Mulligan) with whom he just fell in love.

Considering the genre its story belongs to, "Drive" defies all expectations. This film has a very broody quality, dreamlike almost, with its languid slow motion sequences and elegant but never demonstrative camera work, the proceedings soaked with a beautifully contemplative soundtrack. Although unusual for that specific genre, the style of this film no longer surprised me when I realised that director Nicolas Winding Refn was also at the helm of 2003 psychological thriller "Fear X", equally gorgeous and ruminative in its execution.

The oh-so-dreaded violence is indeed rather graphic and all the more startling as it irrupts, usually unannounced, in the otherwise narcotised tone of the film. But the violence is never superfluous as it is a necessary part of the plot nor it is glamorised in any way as it casts away our anti-hero from the only person he truly cares about. It did however make me wince a couple of time so be warned.

Ryan Gosling is very good as a man who is all introverted emotions and consequently deeply out of touch with the world around, his calm demeanour belying the brutality he's capable of. By contrast Carey Mulligan brings delicate beauty and restrained suffering to her character and the scenes she and Gosling share are tender and discreetly moving, which is to say without being naive nor syrupy.

All in all, "Drive" was indeed a hell of a ride. And this is a ride I wouldn't mind taking again.

Damn! Rory was right!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Interesting story, well directed, but with plenty of weaknesses

7/10
Author: TdSmth5 from US
1 September 2012

A silent driver moonlights as the driver for getaway cars for criminals. He has his rules, doesn't want to know anything about anyone, or the crime. In the intro we witness one of those getaways. It's pretty thrilling stuff.

During the day our driver works as a stunt driver for the movies and also at a garage. His boss/mentor/handler is Shannon. He dreams of having the kid drive a race car but he needs 400k to make that happen. He turns to a sleazy mobster- a former movie producer- who in turn is involved with another mobster who runs a pizza place.

One day the driver falls in love with some ugly kid next door and eventually with his mom. But soon thereafter her convict husband is released from jail. One day he's beat up and the driver gets involved for the sake of the kid and the mom. The ex-con owes some protection money to some guy. To get the money he has to rob a pawn shop. Driver decides he will be the driver for the job. The job goes wrong and ex-con is killed. Now driver has a million bucks in his possession.

The universe of this movie is fairly limited so they are forced to create all these coincidences for the sake of the story and to avoid hiring more actors. It turns out that the protector guy is also involved with the two mobsters and the million dollars belong to them somehow. Which means they are going to go after the driver and after the kid and mom if he doesn't deliver the money. Even though the movie takes place in LA, the world of thugs is so small that no one can escape and everyone can be easily found. Driver is now forced to become an ultra violent but suave criminal himself to guard the people he loves.

Drive is very well done for what it is. In fact, with another director, this movie could have been unwatchable. The main character and others don't say a whole lot, you have repeated shots of the guy driving in his car at night, and even more long slow motion shots of the back of his 80s jacket embroidered with a scorpion. Sometimes the director overdoes it, too. When the two main characters flirt, they just stare at each other and smile, that scene goes on just a bit to long, and the shots of the jacket get annoying at some point. So does the music. At first it's enjoyable, but then it gets obnoxious when scenes are put on mute, put in slow motion and with loud music. It is a success that with so little, the director manages to make you care about what happens. Acting is very good overall. Brooks in particular is interesting in this role. This movie isn't perfect or faultless. It's an engrossing movie, with some excellent action scenes, some surprising violence, and plenty of weaknesses, the strangest of all being the ending, where our driver shows his heart of gold, I guess, and that he doesn't care for money but only for love.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A round of applause

9/10
Author: Zach Gelinas from United States
22 June 2012

I'm gonna do my best to keep it short and sweet with no spoilers. This film was absolutely superb. From the stoic performance of Ryan Gosling to the beautiful direction of Nicolas Winding Refn, I loved it all.

Winding Refn clearly worked hard to give this film a very potent 1980's atmosphere with the soundtrack and subtle inclusion of retro cars/wardrobes/etc. At the beginning of the film, I had no clue what the setting was until I saw a modern Chevrolet Impala. I almost got a Grand Theft Auto: Vice City vibe from it which, as a fan of the game, I enjoyed. His techniques in the direction of the film were very new to me and he utilized styles and angles I've never seen before. +1 for innovation.

Gosling, Mulligan, Brooks, etc. all give amazing performances and you develop a relationship with all of the characters very quickly, whether good or bad. Although, it is a bit odd seeing Ron Perlman play a hardcore mobster.

But keeping it short and sweet, I got a distinct Tarantino-esque feel from Drive with the long, draining pieces of dialogue and short spurts of brutal violence. For this reason, I could understand why people hate the film. It takes a lot out of you and you have to be ready to watch it. That being said, I'm a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino and his style of direction. Winding Refn's style is similar but not quite so don't go into this expecting to see a B-version of Reservoir Dogs or something.

All in all, the film is beautiful. I now know why it got a 15-minute round of applause from the Cannes audience. This is a brilliant movie and I could watch it over and over again. It gets a 9/10 from me.

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