In a nutshell: Mean, moody and nameless takes a drive

Popcorn rating: 4.5/5

Don’t know about you but there’s something about a movie with fast cars and big action that brings out my inner child. One minute I’m sitting there, wittering on about the inherent beauty of Terrence Malick’s cinemtaograhy like Mark Cousins (but without an annoying voice) then the movies starts and a few minutes later, there I am, screaming “Drive muthaf**ka, drive” like some demented redneck from a 1980s B movie.

Anyway, confessions over. ‘Cos Drive ain’t that kind of driving movie. Oh it’s got cars and violence and shiny jackets and stuff but this Ryan Gosling vehicle, is more of the thinking gal’s driving movie. See, underneath all the action, there is a bittersweet love story all mixed in with a nail biting thriller.

As if the intricacies of the script weren’t enough, visually Drive is stunning. Each shot composed with beauty, an eye for detail, for making the most of the slightly off kilter. In fact the opening scene say it all – as the camera pans across the City of Angels at night, lights vibrant against the glittering black tower blocks, a thumping electro pop soundtrack practically makes you want to go outside, get into your own car and just drive like crazy.

Directed by the excellent Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive’s central character is a nameless stunt driver/mechanic (Gosling) who hires himself out as a getaway driver to earn some extra bucks. A laconic, unreadable character, the driver carries out each getaway with a professional precision that speaks a thousand words. Job over, it is back to his mundane, achingly lonesome life.

Of course, there is only so much planning ahead you can do so, when he breaks his own rules, gets emotionally involved and things go drastically wrong on a heist, the driver finds himself with a bag of cash belonging to a local mobster, a contract on his head and only one way to turn.

Drive is unflinching in its portrayal of life, and of violence. Every crunch of bone, every splatter of blood, every unspoken disappointment is on screen. Surprisingly, this doesn’t make Drive difficult or sad to watch but rather, as the credits roll, you realise just how much this small snapshot of another’s life has resonated with your own.

As the movie blurb says, some heroes are real.

Reviewer: Curlyshirley

  1. curlyshirley says:

    Bits of Drive trivia for ya –
    • In preparation for his role, Gosling restored the 1973 Chevy Malibu that his character uses int he film.
    • Nicolas Winding Refn replaced Neil Marshall (The Descent, Centurion, Dog Soldiers) as director and Ryan Gosling replaced Wolverine Hugh Jackman, which would have been an altogether different movie.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    I feel a little bit guilty saying that Drive needed more driving. When the action comes it is tense and artfully done without shying away from the extreme violence, but that all starts to go away as soon as the characters start talking, or sighing and looking at each other. Nice review.

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