Drive, which I saw way too late, stole the best movie of 2011 mantle from Super 8.
Drive had gone from strength to strength, from a rave review to award after award.
And it was worth the accolades.
Drive is a very good film, and heavily recommended.
Ryan Gosling’s take on the nameless protagonist is as cool as a film character has the right to be. A silent outsider who gets in too deep on account of common courtesy (and slightly deficient self-control). A recipe that never failed in westerns, and certainly works well in Nicolas Winding Refn’s movie as well.
The hero of the film is a doubly professional driver – a stuntdriver by day, a getaway driver by night. Suddenly the twin lives collide, and push a detached take on life out of the window.
Escalating crime leads to ultraviolence, and that, as we all know, leads to an endless spiral of vengeance and bloodshed.
The violence is indeed ugly – Drive doesn’t skimp on details, but neither is it an example of torture porn. In this film violence is sudden, harmful and with permanent consequences.
This is a very worthy update of William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. The city itself is ubiquitous, though seen in uncommon angles in addition to the expected concrete and glass. And the music, the music feels like a tribute to the eighties: dark, moody synthesizer steps in heavy on the soundtrack.
Acting is top-notch across the board. Ryan Gosling is indeed Shane-cool in his role, distributing violence without emotion when necessary. Carey Mulligan is fragile and vulnerable, whereas Ron Perlman’s mafioso oozes menace from his very first appearance on screen.
Why not the five stars?
On account of three reasons.
First, for a film named “Drive”, there isn’t that much driving – but the few scenes are beautiful indeed. I was expecting city-spanning chases in Bullitt-style and other more or less realistic car acrobatics.
Second, Drive failed to engage me fully. Even as a neo-noir movie, I somehow failed to care enough towards the end.
Third, the amount of coincidence in the plot is on the lavish side.
Small potatoes. Small enough to be possibly eradicated on a second round. But meaningful enough to nibble away half a star from the film.