Drive (18)

The ViewBristol Review

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Review byMatthew Turner23/09/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Stylishly directed and superbly written, this is an achingly cool, pulse-pounding thriller with a terrific central performance from Ryan Gosling. Great soundtrack too.

What's it all about?
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive is based on the novel by James Sallis and stars Ryan Gosling as an unnamed Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as an ultra-efficient, no-questions-asked getaway driver, overseen in both cases by his friend and mentor Shannon (Bryan Cranston). Though he normally keeps himself to himself, the driver's solitary existence is ruffled when he forms an attachment to an attractive woman (Carey Mulligan as Irene) and her young son (Kaden Leos) after they move into his building.

When Irene's ex-con husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) is released from prison, the driver agrees to help him with the debt he owes a local gangster by agreeing to drive during a heist. However, when the heist goes wrong, the driver finds his life threatened by gang boss Nino (Ron Perlman) and crooked businessman Bernie (Albert Brooks), both of whom have history with Shannon.

The Good
With minimal dialogue and almost no facial expression except the occasional flicker of an enigmatic smile, Gosling delivers a supercool performance as the driver, aided in no small part by the instantly iconic white satin, gold scorpion-emblazoned jacket he wears throughout the film. There's also strong support from Isaac, Perlman (who gets one of the film's best lines) and Cranston, as well as an eye-catching turn from Christina Hendricks as gangster's moll Blanche, while the casting of Albert Brooks as a villain turns out to be a stroke of genius and he's simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely sinister.

The script has an intriguingly unusual edge to it and is full of unexpected left turns – for example, you expect not to like Standard, yet he turns out to be sympathetic and the driver agrees to help him as much because of their new-found friendship as because of his feelings for Irene.

The Great
Nicolas Winding Refn's direction is achingly stylish throughout (he deservedly won Best Director at Cannes), with long, fluid takes accompanied by a terrific soundtrack and some stunning production design work (whoever chose that jacket deserves some sort of award named after them). He also orchestrates some genuinely exciting action sequences, such as a thrilling car chase, as well as some pulse-pounding scenes punctuated by explosions of strong violence.

Worth seeing?
Drive is quite possibly the coolest film of the year, thanks to a strong script, impeccably stylish direction and a terrific central performance from Ryan Gosling. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Drive (18)
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Content updated: 30/09/2011 12:03

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