Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Movie Review: "Drive" (2011)

Drive 2011 movie poster
Image Source
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Year: 2011
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

A stuntman and part-time wheelman gets involved with his neighbor and gets pulled into the middle of a job gone wrong where he becomes the target of some local mobsters.

Drive 2011 movie Ryan Gosling
"Fuck that shit; I pay three-hundred for something, I want everybody to fucking see it!" (Image Source)
Those watching "Drive"(2011)  for the first time expecting to see a "The Fast and the Furious" (2001)-style action movie will be sorely disappointed. This film is directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, who has directed such films as "Bronson" (2008), "Valhalla Rising" (2009), and "The Neon Demon" (2016). It is written by Hossein Amini and is based on the novel by James Sallis. The story is about an unnamed getaway driver (Ryan Gosling), who also works part-time as a Hollywood stuntman. This Driver begins a relationship with his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and befriends her young son Benicio (Kaden Leos) as well. Irene's husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) is in jail when she and Driver begin their relationship, but once he gets out it of prison, it makes things more complicated. Standard is being blackmailed by some local gangsters into doing a pawn shop robbery. To keep Irene safe, Driver agrees to drive for the heist. It turns out, the job isn't what anyone expected it to be. Things go wrong, and people are double-crossed, and Driver takes his wrath out on those who set him up.
Drive 2011 movie still Ryan Gosling Carey Mulligan
"There's no good sharks?" (Image Source)
"Drive" (2011) is a film every cinephile should see at least once, and for a damn good reason. It is spectacular. It's a slow-burning crime thriller about a mysterious yet compelling lead character. On the surface, this Driver is typically stoic, calm, cool, collected, and often kind to those around him. Underneath that surface, however, is a bubbling ball of rage and violence ready to explode on those who dare cross him. He has little issue with literally stomping a man's head into a pile of mush. This makes Ryan Gosling the perfect casting as the Driver. He has kind eyes with the capability of looking concerned but can also play a 'tough guy' when necessary. We think Gosling absolutely nails it here. This movie also features a great performance by Carey Mulligan, who we think is often criminally under-appreciated. She is incredible every time she is on screen. Mulligan gets the lion share of what limited dialogue there is as the Driver rarely speaks more than what's essential. Also featured is Oscar Isaac in a smaller role before he was more of a household name. It was obvious to us that even in 2011, Isaac was destined for bigger and better things, and he has since become one of our favorite performers. Terrific character actors like Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks, and Bryan Cranston all give excellent performances as well. In addition to the acting, one of the best things about "Drive" (2011) is Newton Thomas Sigel's cinematography. Sigel and Refn have created some gorgeous, gruesome shots within this movie that make it as memorable as it is.
Drive 2011 movie still Ryan Gosling Albert Brooks Bryan Cranston
"My hands are a little dirty." (Image Source)
If you don't like methodically paced crime thrillers with minimal talking, "Drive" (2011) isn't the movie for you. However, if you like compelling narratives with fascinating characters mixed with bouts of unsettling violence and striking visuals, we highly suggest giving this film a try. It's one of our favorites from the 2010s.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
RT Rating: 92%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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