Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, is a slick neo-noir crime thriller and an original experience. On the surface it looks like just a stylish action film but Drive places character development above action. The result is a film where we care about the protagonists and understand what motivates them.
The direction is very interesting and won Nicolas Winding Refn the Best Director Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The film’s sequences are somehow dream-like; the action evolves slowly. The actors often interplay without narrative, allowing their faces to speak volumes instead. This film definitely has a different feel to it.
Drive plays out on a backdrop of 1980s synth pop. This should be jarring but it works brilliantly. It is Winding Refn’s nod of acknowledgement to the action movies of that era and also to Los Angeles – where the film is set – a city which never truly left the 1980s behind, he believes.
Ryan Gosling plays an ultra cool character in the vain of Clint Eastwood in his Spaghetti Westerns or Steve McQueen in Bullitt: a man of few words, and outwardly few emotions, with a toothpick constantly in his mouth. It is reminiscent of Eastwood chewing on his cigar, playing the Man with No Name. Gosling’s character in this film also has no name.
It took us two viewings to “get” what this film is about. It was well worth it. Drive is a superb movie.
As always, we recommend you don’t ruin any surprises by reading spoilers or watching this trailer:
Direction: Nicolas Winding Refn
Screenplay: Hossein Amini
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel
Editing: Matthew Newman
Score: Cliff Martinez
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Kaden Leos, Jeff Wolfe, James Biberi, Russ Tamblyn, Andy San Dimas