In Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive Ryan Gosling plays a nameless driver far more at ease in the company of a car than with another human being. A mix of mechanic, getaway driver and stuntman, the driver lives a simple, uncomplicated life which begins to unravel as he falls for his neighbour (Carey Mulligan) and life suddenly becomes complex.
With Gosling’s lead role requiring almost no dialogue, it is up to the supporting cast to flesh out the piece and Drive‘s acting stable is well stocked with a talented fleet. Mulligan brings the heart as the vulnerable neighbour while Bryan Cranston offers some comic relief as Gosling’s boss. Gosling isn’t just a near-mute, his character shows almost no emotions throughout so the comedy and the heart provided elsewhere become even more important for the audience to find a connection with the film.
For the most part Drive is a slow, gorgeous and tense drama and it frequently lulls you into a false sense of security. It is when you are most relaxed, settled into a gentle dialogue scene that Drive unleashed its flashes of raw, brutal violence. These are never overplayed but always shocking, the violence at times becoming so extreme the audience couldn’t help but laugh. Rest assured this is an 18 through and through.
Shot with a true artist’s eye Drive has a B movie plot but an art house sensibility. This is an exploitation film directed as something so much better. Stunning, shocking and flawless. I loved it.
Poster Quote: The Taxi Driver of the 21st century.