Action Movie Fanatix Review: Drive

Drive banner

Get In.  Get Out.  Get Away.

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

2011  |  100 Minutes  |  Rated R

“What do you?” – Irene
“I drive.” – Driver

I have wanted to check out Drive for quite a while but I just could never quite pull the trigger on renting or buying it.  I had heard it was kind of artsy and generally artsy means I will hate it.  Luckily Drive wasn’t artsy it was stylish… there’s a big difference.

Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman for criminals.  Driver is falls for a young mother, Irene (Carey Mulligan), whose husband is released from prison and dragged right back into the illegal activities that sent him to prison in the first place.  Driver decides to help him on one last job to pay all of his debts but when the heist goes wrong he finds himself with a bag of cash and the mob on his tail, all the while trying to make sure Irene and her son stay safe.

How do you know Driver’s a badass?  Well, who else would wear that ugly jacket?  Only a badass can get away with that.  And then he proceeds to wear it in public after it is all blood stained.  Pretty cool.  Even though Ryan Gosling is supposedly one of the sexiest men alive (or something) I just don’t see Driver’s whole long awkward pauses in the middle of conversations shtick working with real women.  That part felt off to me.  Any woman I know would have been creeped out by this guy.

The acting is great by everyone involved.  Gosling does an excellent job portraying the lone wolf Driver.  Carey Mulligan has a great innocence to her that plays very well for Irene.  I kept expecting something more to come of Driver and Irene’s flirtations but the movie inteligently did not go down that road that so many others would have.  Everyone else is really in the background but everyone does their part well.  The only one that I didn’t like, surprisingly, was Ron Perlman.  It just felt like he was trying to hard.  My only thoughts now after reflecting on it a bit was that it may be that the his Jewish character was trying too hard to fit in with these other gangsters and not so much that Ron Perlman was trying too hard in this role.  It’s not like he really has to put a ton of effort in as an actor to come across as a tough guy.

Drive isn’t exactly action packed but when there is action it is down and dirty and bloody as all hell.  Often it is unexpected so I won’t delve too deeply into any good examples to hopefully avoid ruining too much in case you haven’t seen it.

Not surprisingly, some the best action of the movie takes place behind the wheel.  There aren’t a ton of driving scenes but when they are on screen you can’t take your eyes off it.  The opening scene in particular is as intense a scene you will see in a movie and all without a drop of blood spilled.

I was digging the music from the first note.  It has a really cool vibe to it.  A little bit retro 70s but a little bit modern.  This was maybe the first thing that hit me about the movie before it pulled me in even closer with that intense first getaway.

Drive was based on a book written by James Sallis.  I probably won’t ever read the book (no offense Jimmy) but he has apparently written a sequel.  I could definitely see a sequel to Drive being something worth while.  It seems like Driver has just started a journey and is in many ways a different person than when this movie first began.  It would be very interesting to see who he is now and where he takes this.

I was actually really shocked at how much I enjoyed Drive.  I could easily pop it right back into the DVD player and watch it again.  This one is an easy recommendation for all movie fans, not just the action fans (you will have a blast too).

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