From inspired director Nicolas Winding Refn, who was behind the incredible Bronson (about Britain’s most notorious prisoner of the same name), comes his new film Drive: a similarly vivid study of violence and masculinity.

We follow Ryan Gosling’s driver of the title – a movie stunt driver who at night uses these skills to act as a getaway driver for hire. Anyone who needs to get away from a robbery or heist quickly can hire him to help for 5 minutes and 5 minutes only.

The unnamed driver of the title is a quiet man who lives in his own world of fast cars and adrenaline fuelled rushes. That is until he meets pretty girl next door Irene (Carey Mulligan): a lonely young mother who he begins to open up to.

Although he has very little dialogue, through Ryan Gosling’s amazing performance as ‘The Driver’ we seem to always know what he is thinking without him actually saying anything. He just lets his actions and facial expressions do the talking.

In fact, Drive is a film full of quiet moments – sometimes it’s when the plot pauses, and sometimes it’s simply silent moments where Refn builds up the tension and we are waiting for something horrible to happen. And when stuff does happen, IT REALLY HAPPENS.

As we saw in Bronson, Refn knows how to shoot violence well. And in Drive there are big instances of horror and gore when ‘The Driver’ shows just how far he’ll go to help someone who he feels needs his protection. These moments are all the more shocking because although we realise something bad might be about to happen, we aren’t given enough time to prepare ourselves (more than once I jumped about 10 foot in the air).

And again, like Bronson, the entire film is absolutely gorgeous – every shot oozing with style and substance. The entire thing has obviously been very carefully designed and set out by Refn before shooting. He is shaping up to be one of the most amazing visual directors of recent years, here creating a neon wonderland that sometimes looks real and sometimes feels entirely surreal and dreamlike.

And the soundtrack is superb too: all pumping techno songs which again add something to the neon backdrop and the fantastic car chases.

Ah, yes. The car chases. These too are brilliantly executed by Refn – scary to watch and adrenaline pumping, especially during the opening robbery scene which is (mostly) dialogue free and lasts for a full 5 minutes.

This is definitely one of the most inventive and visual amazing films of this year: a neo-noir masterpiece with a wonderful central performance from Gosling. Refn truly deserved that Cannes Best Director award. His next film is supposedly involving Gosling again. Whatever the story it’s hard to see Refn going wrong and he and Gosling could turn out to be another brilliant long-term recurring director and star team to add to the greats.


~ by square-eyed-geek on October 6, 2011.

One Response to “Drive”

  1. I feel a little bit guilty saying that Drive needed more driving. When the action comes it is tense and artfully done without shying away from the extreme violence, but that all starts to go away as soon as the characters start talking, or sighing and looking at each other. Nice review.

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