Review: Drive

THE SETUP: A stuntman (Ryan Gosling) with no name and no past, who moonlights as a getaway driver for robbers, finds blossoming love with a single mom (Carey Mulligan). Unfortunately, the mom comes with the baggage of an ex-con husband who owes some bad, bad people lots of money. Threats are made to the family and the driver gets involved…violently.

After I saw the trailer for this, I was hooked. And, thankfully, the movie held up to my expectations. Feeling like a throwback to the 70s, this is pure style and experience over substance…which isn’t a bad thing if it’s a very cool style and experience. Gosling is believable as both a quiet, inverted love interest and as a cold-blooded, badass thug. If you’re looking for deep character moments from him, you won’t find it in this movie. This is a very “Point A to Point B” story with some quiet moments but not one’s that develop any of the actors. I’ve heard it compared by the director to a fairy tale or a John Hughes movie but, as much as I love this movie, this is nowhere close to Sixteen Candles. Those movies told relatable stories about teenagers while Drive is more a hammer over your head. In a good way. It’s intense, gory (the elevator scene comes to mind), brutal and almost….sweet. The interaction between Gosling and Mulligan, as well as her kid, was great. Everyone else was as great as you’d expect: Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman. This is a movie you’ll remember.

DRIVE Rating:
4 stars – you’d recommend this. A retro crime thriller with huge doses of badassery. Maybe not as much driving as you’d expect from the title, but that’s because the Driver is too busy busting heads. Check it out.

Random Recommendations
Thief (1981) – Michael Mann is known for directing the hell out of gritty, intense crime dramas – Heat, Miami Vice (TV show, ignore movie), Manhunter. So if you haven’t seen this movie about James Caan doing a job for the mob only to get screwed, you’re missing out.

City of God (2002) – I like my life. I don’t carry a gun to get through my day and I watch my drug dealing on TV. Not so much if you live in parts of Brazil. This is a great story of two friends who travel very different paths – one a photographer and the other a criminal. Definitely an eye-opening experience and well worth the rent. Has found a home in a lot of “greatest movies” lists.

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