User Reviews (1,321)

  • pattonfever27 September 2011
    Why Are Some People So Dumb?
    One reviewer here suggested that instead of seeing Drive you should see what Drive was aspiring to be Layer Cake. Drive is nothing like Layer Cake nor even tries to be. They have nothing in common, and the comment is just absurd. It is a far far better film though. From it's title sequence written in cursive pink (which a ton of idiots just did not get for some reason) to it's retro soundtrack. It is a picture perfect reflection of the films from the late 60's, 70's and 80's. If you have not seen films from this era (i do believe so many reviewers here have not) you will not entirely get this film.

    This is a man with no name film. Instead of horses and cowboys we get fast muscle cars and ruthless gangsters. Our hero is a man with no name. He is also a man of very few words that can break out into fits of extreme violence at any moment to protect those he cares about. We get no back story to our hero just like the Eastwood pictures, which makes the film even more effective. He is not your typical Vin Diesel blabbering idiot action hero. He is an old fashioned action hero. Too many here did not understand this, and decided this was bad acting/directing. It is far better to imagine what Gosslings character has done to arrive at this point, than to be shown in some cheesy flash back sequence. Albert Brooks (who is just fantastic as usual), Ron Pearlman, and Bryan Cranston all provide nice contrast to our quiet hero.

    Another reviewer here stated there was no explanation for the second car at the pawn shop. Well there was. I will not give it away here, but you will find the answer in the motel sequence. The violence has also been hated on here, but it is just part of the world he lives in. The fact that he can be just as cruel as the gangsters adds to the mystery of his character.

    Not one negative review is credible. Unless you were raised on Transformer and Fast and Furious pictures. Then I guess you would need more CG, louder music, and bad duologue so you could understand the film easier. Or maybe you just need more imaginary computerized cars doing spectacular things on screen to hold your attention. The fact is this is a fantastic film, filled with great performances, and some of the best chase sequences since bullet. Be smart see films that matter.
  • Calum Rhys4 July 2014
    A Captivating Mix Of Contemporary And Retro Aesthetics
    'Drive' is a visceral and brilliantly executed vision of art-house action; possibly one of the greatest art-house films to have graced the screen. Nicolas Winding Refn has created a stylised neo-noir thriller that is simply stunning; full of glorified violence and stroking imagery. The soundtrack is amazing, fully reflecting the films mood, whilst attempting to create an atmospheric feel to accompany the gritty action. 'Drive' is a captivating mix of contemporary and retro aesthetics. A stylish and taut thriller that keeps the audience entertained from start to finish with breathtaking sequences, brutal violence and stunning cinematography, a modern masterpiece that has truly redefined the noir genre.
  • evansweet121419 June 2011
    10/10
    A Tense and Often Beautiful Masterpiece.
    You might hear one comparing this to a Tarantino film, but leave all worries at the door, this is an absorbing and tremendously unique piece of cinema from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. The reason it works so exquisitely well is because the film grabs hold of you and takes you inside this often dark and dream-like LA setting. So, when the end of the film hits, you feel apart of this film, and it's there to stay.

    This film also offers a Ryan Gosling like you've never seen him, speaking only when necessary, with tension and fury in his eyes. He's silent, caring, and ridiculously tough. Every line is delivered perfectly and every gesture is natural.

    I saw this at the LA Film Festival on a mammoth screen with booming speakers. The music only makes this film more unique. It is catchy and synchronized perfectly with the TRULY beautiful cinematography.

    This film is the BEST of its genre. I honestly cannot compare it to any other film, for it is truly that different. "Drive" is already the best of the year, because I'm POSITIVE no other film will haunt and invade me quite like this film has. This is not just a classic for its genre, but a beautiful and bold classic in general.
  • MonsieurBison14 August 2011
    10/10
    -Cinema fantastic-
    A truly beautiful and hypnotic film.

    I've seen the last few Nicholas Winding Refn films, and while I liked both Bronson and Valhalla Rising a lot, they were both "difficult" films, in that both structure, pacing and tone were bound to alienate some people, and of course they were both marketed as somewhat mainstream films while being anything but.

    Part of the irony of Refn's situation is that he makes films about "Primal" man- and these protagonists invariably commit acts of great violence on those around them. This violence puts his films into the genre categories that Hollywood recognises and promotes to the public, resulting in trailers for Refn movies that grossly misrepresent the sophistication of the actual film. In that way, Valhalla's intense, slow-burning and almost dialogue-free mythic exploration of our savage past can be repackaged as a "Vlad the Viking goes to the New World" action movie.

    Yet both Valhalla and Bronson were highly "directed" films, revealing a very strong hand in control of the material. And so, I was extremely curious to see what Refn would do with the material, and whether he would be able to rein in his sometimes obtrusive style in order to allow the story more room to breathe... I shouldn't have worried. I think the director has managed to balance a genuine artistry with the demands of the genre in a way that is rarely, if ever, achieved. I absolutely loved it. Just stay the hell away from the trailer, as it reveals far too much, and again, misrepresents the film's true "feel".

    Driver has a tone of wry amusement at everything around it, much like Gosling's half-smirk, pivoted on the toothpick perpetually in the corner of his mouth. Schmucky gangsters and mob clichés provide some laughs, but the heart of the film is Gosling's portrayal of the unnamed? main character and his sweet, underplayed romance with Mulligan and her young son.

    While an ethereal synthesizer-pop soundtrack provides an at-times tender,at-times mythic undercurrent, the car chases and action scenes, when they come, are tense, brutal and brief- far more Eastern Promises than The Transporter. Mulligan plays her character all trembly, wet-eyed, sweet and innocent and is swept away by Gosling's quiet strength and self-assured charm, while Gosling speaks little and remains a mystery to the end, though we never doubt his fundamentally good nature.

    The seasoned supporting cast are all very fun, except maybe for Kendricks who is relegated to a fairly irrelevant part. Of course, this is really Gosling's film, and he inhabits the character completely, turning what could be a straightforward Hollyood tough-guy role into a complex and contradictory character, self-confident and physical, yet clearly lonely and possessed with a certain peculiarity and stillness, almost reminiscent of De Niro's Travis Bickle.

    Visually the film is lush and gorgeous. Like Michael Mann, Refn and his cinematographer are able to instill LA with a sense of life and character that most directors just fail to do. Unlike Mann however, Refn opts for warm orange tones over Mann's hard blues, and in one particularly beautiful sequence the familiar LA cliché of driving down the dry LA river is taken to an unexpectedly joyful conclusion.

    Despite its absolute craftsmanship, Driver is probably not for everybody, which makes me sad. People who prefer bald-headed muscle men slugging and wise-cracking their way into their wallets should of course stay away, as this bears very little resemblance to the standard Hollywood fare associated with the genre, and they might well be disappointed.

    But for me, Driver was sweet, surreal, mythic, tense, fun, hilarious, revolting, and surprising. See it because it will make you a better person.

    And so, 10 out of 10, because it deserves it.
  • Colin George16 September 2011
    Intelligent Adrenaline
    After a summer of cheap thrills, Drive delivers thrills on the cheap. With a budget Michael Bay might have allocated for a single effects sequence in Transformers 3, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn made one of the best movies of the year. Following Bronson and Valhalla Rising, Refn crafts his most polished, commercial work yet, while retaining all the ambiguity and unbridled aggression of his tough-as-nails art house pictures.

    Bearing thematic resemblance to Darren Aronofsky's recent output, Drive is like Black Swan in overdrive. The film pins its headlights on the dark implications of unchecked obsession and good intentions gone haywire. That dangerous duality – humanity on the razor's edge of animal brutality – is played to unnerving perfection by Ryan Gosling.

    Rightly among the most reliable names on the Hollywood marquee, the star of Drive plays a crucible of a character. A friendly, fatherly figure to his neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and her young son, he's decidedly less so when the two are threatened. A sort of oblique, ultraviolent superhero, the driver leaps to defend the innocent with bloody determination. If the first half of Drive plays as drama, the second is straight up revenge fare.

    Playing on the juxtaposition of calm and calamity, Refn keeps us on our toes throughout. Quiet moments stretch into suffocating silence, and the explosive violence that inevitably shatters it practically tears the frame in half. The audio is expertly mixed; you'll want to see Drive loud. From its roaring engines and visceral blows to its curt dialogue, the film is an altar to the power of great sound design.

    In truth, Drive isn't pervasively violent, though its most excruciatingly effective moments leave a memory trail like tire streaks on a sunbaked highway. At the heart of the story is a compelling, surprisingly tender romance. Carey Mulligan has proved herself a similarly reliable talent to Gosling, and has worked in recent years with the likes of Michael Mann, Oliver Stone, and Mark Romanek.

    Her fragile character's relationship with the driver is subtle and nuanced in a manner atypical of thriller convention. They're not family, they're not even sleeping together. Drive is not a sexy film. Refn fetishizes neither cars nor women; if The Fast and the Furious is the sleek exterior curves of an automobile, Drive is the greasy, undulating pistons. And it's utilitarian at a lean 100 minutes.

    The rest of the small cast also impresses. Albert Brooks plays against type as a cutthroat crime lord, and a note-perfect Ron Perlman plays his meathead partner. Bryan Cranston of TV's Breaking Bad has a small role too, as employer and confidant to Gosling's character. Their relationships shuffle as lines are drawn and redrawn, but none of them comes away unscathed by the film's end.

    Drive is either the explosive end to a lukewarm summer movie season or an early autumn adrenaline rush. In machismo, it far outpaces its hundred million dollar competition, leaving overwrought tales of lesser heroes like Thor and Green Lantern in the dust. Its troubled characters, and the bonds of desperation that link them, elevate the film above its genre trappings and shield it from disposable entertainment status.

    Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive is an anomaly. It's like a 1200 horsepower hybrid. And it's one of the best movies of 2011.
  • Spikeopath4 February 2012
    10/10
    Fate? Unknown...
    Drive is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and adapted to screenplay by Hossein Amini from the novel of the same name written by James Sallis. It stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks and Ron Perlman. Music is by Cliff Martinez and cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel.

    Driver (Gosling) has a day job, he's a Hollywood stunt man, but by night he makes the serious cash as a getaway driver for the criminal fraternity. Into his life comes married next door neighbour Irene (Mulligan) and her little boy Benicio (Kaden Leos), pitching him right into the middle of two wars; one is for his emotional worth, the other with the criminal underworld.

    Real human being, and a real hero.

    They cheered at Cannes, it has garnered instant cult classic status as well as gushing critical praise, Drive is arguably the biggest surprise of 2011. Some would debate that it arrived in a year that was dominated by blockbuster brain drains and pretentious parables, meaning it wouldn't take much for something like Drive to find a favourable audience. Yet Drive is a special movie, the surprise being that it delivers a different film to what the plot synopsis suggests. There would have been many disappointed that it didn't turn out to be something akin to The Fast & The Furious 19, but as its reputation grows, one likes to think that many also had their senses tingled unexpectedly by Refn's western done out in 1980s neo noir attire.

    Yes, at first glance it looks like a simple story given over to style over substance leanings, where the fact that our laconic protagonist is not prone to dialogue expansion, could lend argumentative weight to those potential dissenters only skimming the surface of the picture. But the material is in excellent hands, with Refn, Sigel, Gosling and co, calmly unravelling Amini's stripped down screenplay to reveal a gritty urban fable that's laced with ethereal overtones. A picture where a look means more than any words can express, a subtle holding of hands reveals many layers peeling, and then the serene state of play often gets punctured by bouts of shocking violence, yet always it remains a picture big on intelligence, beating a mighty heart in the process.

    Propelling the picture forward is the complexity of Gosling's driver character. He has no back story for us to work from, and he gives nothing away outside of the tender bond formed with Irene and child. He is actually one of many purposeful grey areas (or should that be gris areas?) within the plot structure. We learn just enough to be on his side, a noble but flawed hero battling against fate as he fights for the innocent, he be Shane for a modern pot boiling Los Angeles. Helps, too, that he's so cool behind the wheel, where he mines Steve McQueen's effortless charisma. Refn delivers magic moments of car play, from the near ten minute opening getaway extended sequence, to a high speed kill or be killed pursuit, when the action flows it really pumps the adrenalin.

    Gosling is amazing, instantly iconic, soft voice matching his soft blue eyes, toothpick perched between teeth, it's a testament to his acting ability that the requisite homages to iconic characters of movies past never veers into parody territory. It's with the calm moments that he triumphs most, be it watching TV with the boy Benicio or just gazing intensely into Irene's eyes, Gosling has a magnetic quality of some significance. Mulligan, too, is wonderful, deftly underplaying Irene to work off of Gosling to create heart aching tenderness, their chemistry superb. Isaac does fine work with the ex-con/husband character that is thankfully not stereotypical, Brooks is Colm Meaney like, thriving on simmering badness, while Cranston puts real heart into the role of Driver's garage boss, the closest thing the Driver has to a pal. The only one dimensional character lands in Perlman's court, but Perlman is such an ebullient and watchable life force the film survives the character's oafness.

    From the opening pink neon credits, accompanied by the synth plink of a retro 80s soundtrack (a soundtrack so memorable it lands in the ears and stays there for days), it's evident that Refn is a man who takes his style serious. Drive is full of classy (yes arty) passages, fluid camera movements, single takes, non central framing of characters, slow motion unfurls and eye dazzling chopper shots of a neon lighted L.A., the director has an eye for the quality required to cloak his story. He of course is aided considerably by his editor Matthew Newman, and Sigel's photography. The former is dealing in seamless precision, the latter a master of shades (a lift sequence is to, ahem, die for) and colour toning delights. Marking this out as a Blu-ray essential.

    You can name about ten films that Drive has been either likened too or put forward as an influence, and Refn's work here has been touted as an offspring created by Michael Mann, Walter Hill, William Friedkin and Sergio Leone (all viable and all actually high praise indeed). But rest assured, Drive is still fresh and exciting, the perfect movie package. Refn's masterpiece and one of the best films of 2011. 10/10
  • recoltes30 September 2011
    Drive through LA
    A haunting movie with a stilted atmosphere reminiscent of Mulholland Drive though in an altogether different genre. The pink credits beginning the movie and the music throughout are pure eighties and set an offbeat tone against the contemporary LA streets and skyline. Great character studies punctuated by violent action scenes keep the audience immersed in this blood bath of a movie. Some powerful performances, stylish direction and intricate plotting complete this strangely understated production. Drive may not deliver box office gold in the short term though will certainly be paying long term dividends as a reference point for future film noir writers, directors and fans.
  • blackmambamark16 September 2011
    9/10
    An art-house action flick at it's finest
    I think we all remember hearing about Ryan Gosling right after 'The Notebook' came out. Most men, including myself, neglected the man on his acting ability. It's not a good reason to not really appreciate an actor. But when it comes to romantic flicks like that, i'm not really keen on the subject, or it's actors for that matter. But film by film, this man is starting to impress the hell out of me. Now it's about time to see what kind of chops this man has when it comes to an action film.

    Believe me when i say this.......it is the coolest damn action flick i've seen in quiet some time. It's not your basic shoot em' picture. It has this slight 'noire' edge to it that makes it shine much brighter than the rest.

    For starters, let's talk about the pace of the film. Most may call it slow, whereas i call it hypnotic. The lead played by Gosling, is a cold and quiet fellow who barely even speaks, blinks, or give any reference to his emotions. The film is littered with these somewhat awkward pauses by his character........i personally wouldn't call them awkward, because the way the film is presented, it makes them look beautiful. Case in point......in the movie "Heat", you know how Dinero, Kilmer, Sizemore, Trejo barely speak to one another. But the overall feeling is just so entertaining to watch? That's the exact same feeling you get when you watch this picture.

    But as the film rolls on, Gosling's character becomes a bit more vibrant. And by that, i mean more gory. It's not the kind of gore you would expect. Not like Tarantino gore, but more like a David Cronenberg gore. (History of Violence, Eastern Promises). You know, the settle, yet explosive gore that you really weren't expecting......which i love. And then the movie does nothing but climb higher and higher with it's level of intensity. It took this stone cold character, and molded him into one cool ass superhero.

    But what really sold me on this film was it's overall FEEL. The best example i can give is this........it's a cool mix between "Heat" and "Taxi Driver", with a very artistic edge. I already said that the movie is hypnotic, and i cannot stress that enough. Once the picture starts, your eyes are literally glued to the screen. The cinematography is fantastic, the musical score is hip and awesome, and the acting is top notch. All these elements were executed to perfection.

    Bottom Line.......i may go and see this movie again. I rarely ever do that......THAT'S how awesome this was. It's an art-house action flick at it's finest. Both men and women will drool over this movie. If you get the chance, go and see this movie......you will never regret it.
  • Marinescu Alin-Madalin25 September 2011
    6/10
    The scam of the century
    Warning: Spoilers
    I've been an IMDb member for about 5 years or so and I've rated over 650 titles. I never wrote a review before though...

    "Drive" is the most overrated movie I have ever seen. When I got out of the cinema the other night I was outraged. But not in the "I want my money back!" or "I want my two hours back!" way. I was outraged because this movie is rated higher than "Leon", for example. I can name a hundred movies that are better than "Drive" but have lower ratings.

    In my opinion it's a 6/10 movie. Full of clichés, weak plot, no dialogue and uncalled for explicit violence scenes. The cinematic was good and the soundtrack was OK, but that doesn't add up. Everybody is talking about the acting. Well, what acting? There are no characters, not even one line of dialogue to be remembered. Ryan Gosling acts like he is the most awesome person in the universe. Moving around with his hands in his pockets or with his arms crossed on his chest, with a toothpick in his mouth like he's Stallone in "Cobra". A man of few words but who looks smarter than anybody else. He is ridiculous taking himself so seriously. But hey, he is a mechanic, part time stunt driver, part time get-away driver. How cool is that? Maybe he should have also applied for a school bus driver position so his sensitive side appear more clear to us and soften our dull old hearts.

    And what's with all that violence? Broken skulls, throats cut, blood everywhere all of a sudden. These scenes just don't fit in the movie. It seems that they were added just to shock the audience and to impress the 12 year-old who managed to get tickets. And don't get me started on the screenplay flaws...

    Anyway, there are so many things that I didn't like in this movie that they wouldn't fit in 10 reviews. I believe though that his rating will eventually go down. I mean, 8.7? Lets have some sense. That's how "Matrix", "The usual suspects" or "Forrest Gump" are rated... "Drive" is just a "B" movie and doesn't deserve to share the spot with any other film above.

    Unless, the world turns upside down.

    EDIT: OK, I was a bit out of line regarding the title of my review. It's just a highly overrated movie.
  • greekmuse4 October 2011
    6/10
    Most overrated movie of 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    Wow!! Did I miss something here? The biggest drawback of this movie is the plot: it's barely believable and lacking in substance. While the soundtrack is very good, it also cannot save the weak dialogue which is mostly Ryan Gosling staring at people and things and not saying much at all -- we're supposed to think that's really cool. He also likes to wear that scorpion jacket even when it's been bloodied. Becoming best buddies with the neighbor's kid on the first try - really? And then willing to risk his life even after the neighbor's boyfriend comes back from prison even though she previously hit on him - really? Also, outsmarting a police helicopter in LA in the first chase scene - really?

    The whole movie has that whole trying really hard to be cool vibe but it's really not. Overall an extremely disappointing effort. This movie just barely makes it above the big B.
  • africanchief2324 October 2011
    I Tried
    Warning: Spoilers
    I really tried to like this movie but honestly it was pretty strange. First of all there's no real story. I feel no connection to any of the characters or the acting. Gosling is this weird arrogant silent guy that we never learn much about. All the other characters are quite cliché. The coincidence is also pretty strange that Gosling happened to live in the same floor as the guy he wants to help with money problems is actually in dirty business with the guy sponsoring Gosling. Plus the movie is called "drive." I expected to see little more stunts than just unrealistic and unnecessary handbrake spinning in only one scene. The filming and setting were the only good things about this movie. Not even the music was catchy. I feel like I've been have a strange plot less and lifeless dream while watching this movie. NO substance at all and strange acting i will rate this movie maximum a 6.8. I don't understand what the hype is and why people are going crazy about it. It really is something just to pass time let alone a masterpiece. As if everything mentioned wasn't bad enough the violence is just downright ridiculous and again unnecessary. Who is one second kiss a girl romantically and the next second bashing someones skull open. I don't even know what else to say, this is a movie i will remember for being slow and strange.
  • alectoamorae18 September 2011
    painfully slow, unimaginative film blanketed by loud music and blood capsules
    Warning: Spoilers
    Welcome to the first edition of Movie Math. Beware, I spoil the entire movie in this review. My sincerest apologies.

    First, I do not like to applaud mediocrity, even if it is well done mediocrity. I understand the underlying point of the movie, but it was really buried and I shouldn't be able to get to that point so quickly. The audience prefers to be led, not slapped into submission. It just stings less after you realize you paid $12 to be treated like an idiot. Second, I did love the neon pink script, the members only jacket and the 80's pop (which, alone, is awesome but seemed like a loud, annoying filler for scenes that had absolutely nothing going on). Combined, they seemed like an afterthought.

    The movie consists of about 30 minutes of good solid plot line stuffed with about 1.5 hours worth of pointless fluff (ex. the river scene, all the staring, the shots of watching TV, the random garage & test driving scenes) all meant to build character and inspire (or something). This failed completely because I actually connected more with Albert Brooks' & Bryan Cranston's characters. Both of whom had less airtime than the main characters.

    And plot line- wait, there isn't A plot line, there are several, terribly integrated plot lines. Think: The Notebook + Grindhouse + Steve Mcqueen + Tarantino. The narration was so cliché it made me wince. Never, EVER, should narration take the place of integral character development.

    The love plot is absurd. She doesn't know Gosling, he's super creepy, says nothing and somehow she gets a warm/cozy vibe so she invites him over to hang out with her kid. And I thought the romance in Twilight was bad (-1 star simply because I was forced to write Twilight).

    The violence was eh. I've seen gory horror flicks integrate gratuitous violence into the story line better, and in a less in-your-face manner, so that was unimpressive and unimaginative(-1). Especially because, unless you're sadistic, no one actually enjoys watching someone get stabbed in the eye.

    As for the dialog, there isn't any, and the cars have fewer appearances than sentences. So this leads me to believe the title is meant to have more than one connotation. Warning: here is where I get all "artsy".

    The title, Drive, can be interpreted in two different ways: one being the more literal sense: someone that drives a car; the second alluding perseverance. If it is the second, then the Refn/Amini duo are sorely lacking all around and Mulligan desperately wants her kid to die quietly at the hands of an insane mechanic. There's some perseverance for you.

    That being said, I did not enjoy this movie. I do not require the Michael Bay effect to be entertained but please, do not treat me like a Teen wolf/Twilight moviegoer (-1 AGAIN). Long pauses do not develop character, especially when a blank affect is meant to be a representation of stoicism/wide-eyes and a mom-haircut represent vulnerability(-1 for being a giant stereotype). Even if those blank stares are backed up by a wicked soundtrack (hell yes, Chris Martinez, high five! +1)and excellent cinematography (it's already been done before but whatever: +1).

    However, I was constantly reminded of other movies while watching(Collateral, anyone? -1) and I was left feeling like someone (Gosling and Refn/Aminihad) watched far too many Steve Mcqueen movies. And then they attempted, quite literally, to copy the dynamics. Unfortunately, the entire team (and some of the audience)failed to realize that Mr. Mcqueen's movies were written FOR him and Mr. Gosling has not quite reached that level. So -1 for not being original.

    I was not impressed by Mr. Gosling's acting (What acting? It's so easy to stand around and chew a toothpick: -1) and I honestly do not understand all the hype regarding Ms. Mulligan. I've seen almost all her movies and she plays the doe-eyed victim with a giant heart in every. single. one.So -1 for typecasting. This also includes Christina Hendricks, by the way. She looked SO uncomfortable. Well, maybe that was the point, or maybe it was because her pants were too tight and she was robbing a pawn shop wearing 5" heels. I should -1 for it being unrealistic, but this movie would then have a negative rating.

    Gosling and Mulligan attempt the profound "say something by not saying anything at all" (-1 for bad directing) but Mulligan appears dimwitted and Gosling goes from mimicking George Washington on the side of Mt. Rushmore to suddenly being a skilled fighter. I did not see that coming. Maybe that was yet another point?

    The stunt driver should be commended, though, he/she had some pretty tricks done with effortless flair (+ 1 for talent). So I tip my hat to you, sir/ma'am. Mustangs are not easy to do donuts in.

    I was bored an hour into the movie (-.5) and was squirming at the pretentiousness of the director by the second hour (-.5). That by itself says quite a bit seeing as I am an avid moviegoer and watch just about anything. May I reiterate that being reminded of others' work does not dredge feelings of nostalgia, it makes me want my $12 back.

    So, unless I didn't do my math correctly, I gave this movie a 3/10.
  • MidnightMax18 September 2011
    9/10
    Best Film of 2011: "Drive"
    At the Theater- "Drive" -- This is not an Action film, this is not a "Car" movie- It's a character-driven, slow-burn thriller of the first order that features elements of some of the finer works from Directorial royalty like Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, William Friedkin, Quentin Tarantino, Walter Hill and the late Sam Peckinpah.

    The film is an electric mixture of beautiful, lingering cinematography, a pulsating soundtrack, lean dialogue and short bursts of graphic, bloody violence. It's tense and involving- almost impossible not to get immersed in. Nicolas Winding Refn is a Director to definitely keep a tab on.

    Ryan Gosling is the embodiment of some kind of cold fire at the heart of the matter- his "Driver" character is a well-intentioned but unstoppable force that will surely end up as a cult favorite for decades to come. Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks and Oscar Issac round out an excellent cast that's pretty much in support but extremely well-utilized.

    Those wanting to check out a quick and disposable, mindlessly fun popcorn flick need to steer clear- this isn't what you're looking for. This is deadly-serious film-making that's damned-near perfect.

    It's my favorite film of the year- Hell, it's one of my all-time top faves.

    9.5 outta 10
  • Slim Jack Rabbit25 October 2011
    1/10
    Running stationary
    Warning: Spoilers
    Ryan Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as an escape car artist for local thugs. He gets involved in the life of his next door neighbor, her kid and the husband who owes money to the mafia boss Gosling's character happens to works for.

    The film plays out terribly as the murky and meager plot is all over the place and the pacing of the film so off, it just beggars belief. The many scenes just showing Gosling's blood stained clothes are so slow and stretched that you can see the changing of seasons in the background. And every time our hero starts to talk there's a standard 6 seconds delay before he actually starts to mutter his script lines. Pause in a conversation can add drama to the moment, but I shouldn't have to be tearing the hair from my cranium while watching it.

    Action sequences are few and far between and the story itself is done completely by the numbers; excavating only stereotypical behaviour and gratuitous violence from the flimsily drawn out characters. Think of a Tarantino movie you liked, then strip away the interesting characters, the music, the daring plot and sharp dialog. What is left is good cinematography and an incredibly cool choice of font for the end credits.

    I'm seriously left dumbfounded as to what prompts people to vote on this miserable excuse for entertainment with more than 6 stars. Perhaps it is the overall quality of films nowadays which seems to be in a hasty decline, rendering people clueless as to what rating to give to a film. But I can safely say that this project is as lifeless as it is artless and I would recommend the 1999 movie Ghost Dog in stead. A movie that shares many parallels with 'Drive' but which is made with far more authenticity, humor and overall class. Not to mention it having an actual silver lining and point to it.

    30/100
  • doncraw19 June 2011
    9/10
    Film Noir meets Hammer Hardened Hero Maker meets Gangster Heavy Metal
    Ryan Gosling brings down the hammer on that line where logic reason and self preservation become secondary to protecting what is important to you. There are a few moments where he doesn't just cross that line but obliterates it completely.

    Beautifully crafted pounding action thriller with twisted humor and seriously hard core violence. Compelling tenderness from characters that are unsophisticated in the best sense of the word.

    This film will go down as one of the best Action films in decades. Car chases that rival and extend beyond Bullitt and French Connection. Violence that bursts out of the screen like a horror film or a bad dream by David Cronenberg. Passing moments of tenderness that are drawn out until you are slowly pulled into the emotional world of the protagonists.

    Something so powerful, especially when it works, is the use of sharp and dramatic Camera Angles in Drive that mirror the emotional moment of the story drawing you into the characters world.

    View and angles often extremely low angled and tilted sharply upward, effective at expanding the feeling of voyeurism of being at the dinner table or in the adjacent seat, right in the room with the characters while safely looking up from some shadow or nook or cranny. Very emotionally transcendent cinematography.

    Night footage was amazingly successful at capturing the range of light and shadows, on a technical level the audio and video were strong and assured. Not only the first robbery but all the way through the film right up to the final resolution of the plot, the night was a familiar environment for major turns in the story (pun intended).

    I will return hopefully soon to expand on this review, but I had to write something tonight because this film is ten times more badass than any Transporter or Fast and Furious fare that is usually sold in their all too obvious packaging.

    Drive leaves them all in the Dust.

    This filmed was viewed on the Big Screen at the LAFILMFEST screening June 17th 2011
  • Claudio Carvalho19 May 2012
    8/10
    A Driver without a Name
    In Los Angeles, a mysterious driver (Ryan Gosling) is a man of few words that works as a garage mechanic for his only friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston); stuntman in Hollywood films; and driver of getaway car in heists.

    One day, he helps his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), whose husband is in prison, and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos) and her falls in love with her. However, a few days later her husband Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac) is released from prison and they meet each other in the building. Standard is pressed by the criminal Cook (James Biberi) to rob a pawn shop to pay for the protection he had in prison, and the driver decides to help him driving the getaway car. However, the heist does not work as planned, Standard is murdered and the driver discovers that they have been double-crossed by Cook. Further, the money belongs to the Mafia and now he has to protect Irene and Benicio from the mobsters.

    "Drive" is a good thriller with the lead character without a name, recalling the style of Clint Eastwood in "High Plains Drifter" in the role of "The Stranger" – a man that speaks a few words only, violent when necessary that protects innocent and beloved people. The film is weirdly attractive with potential of cult movie.

    The stylish cinematography discloses in an adequate pace the big picture and develops characters very well. The conclusion has an open end, a characteristic that has been forgotten by Hollywood. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "Drive"
  • Brett Chandler (Thunderbuck)17 September 2011
    3/10
    No. Just, no.
    Warning: Spoilers
    This is an awful movie. Perhaps all the more so because there were the ever-so-slight hints that it might have been good.

    Watch the first half-hour. Gosling's (unnamed) character, when spoken to, takes ridiculously long pauses--upwards of 10 seconds--to respond.

    >>>Spoilers ahead The story is, um, flimsy. Porn-movie flimsy. There is a central crime to this story that never really IS explained very well (sure, it looked really cool when that other car showed up, but... wwwhy was it there, exactly?), and is really the product of a monumental coincidence. Think about it: Gosling just happens to be the driver for a holdup where his neighbor is robbing cash from a pawn shop in a heist that's really been masterminded by... the guy who's bankrolling his race car? Huh? (and, no, the story makes absolutely NO effort to explain this).

    As much as I love Ryan Gosling, he's just plain bad here. Maybe not "just plain" bad; spectacularly, pretentiously bad. I know what the creative intent was, that the character was just something of a "blank canvas" that others project their wants and needs on to. The biggest problem here is that Gosling can't tone down the smart and charming enough for us to believe that he's as socially isolated as his character really should be. And, again, he tends to try to substitute blankness for intensity. It doesn't work.

    Carey Mulligan is okay, but her character is pretty one-dimensional as well. I got zero chemistry off of the combo of her and Gosling. The kid is basically a prop. I'm sorry, I got absolutely nothing to say why this guy develops an attachment to these two.

    When Mulligan's husband appears, there's actually a little tension for a bit, and I began to hope for some substance (especially since he has considerably more chemistry with Mulligan than Gosling does). Sadly, "Standard" is killed off fairly quickly.

    There's no shortage of great performers in this movie, and they're mostly wasted. Ron Perlman is so awesomely menacing! And so completely under-written! And what's there is clichéd! God, what were these people thinking? Bryan Cranston has a supporting role as Gosling's partner/boss. A huge opportunity is wasted when his character's interest in the stolen money is just casually discarded. That might have actually GONE somewhere. As a "Breaking Bad" fan, I know just how good he can be, but the writing here is nowhere near as good, and his character, as well, is left adrift.

    And Albert Brooks. Who I've loved since "Lost in America". It breaks my heart, because he's actually awesome in this movie. One of the most compelling cinematic criminals since Brando, I kid you not. Thoughtful, emotional, utterly believable, but since he's the only character that we develop even the remotest sympathy for, he's not quite enough to redeem this mess.

    I was hoping for some action, at least. And there really isn't much. For a movie about a driver, there honestly isn't that much driving. The movie opens with a not-bad robbery getaway, but there's only one more serious chase later on, and even IT isn't especially noteworthy. Did none of these people even WATCH "Bullitt"? And, speaking of car action, there's one scene where Gosling's character repeatedly rams another car. Hard. Hard enough to send it rolling off a small cliff. And yet, afterwards, we see the front end of his car, seemingly undamaged. Are mid-70s Chevelle parts really that hard to come by? There are legitimate flashes of creativity in "Drive". There are some genuinely original scenes of violence (and, to be fair, well-executed). Had the story and characters risen to a level where the audience might have cared, well, this might have been a different movie.

    This is one of those "emperor's-new-clothes" things the movie industry pulls on the public every once in a while. Don't fall for it.
  • mdfaraone19 September 2011
    Don't believe the Hype... ,Pointless, Boring exercise in Nihilism
    Warning: Spoilers
    I want my two hours back. I am convinced critics will only give a positive review if a movie is depressing and nihilistic. Don't believe the hype that this is some cinematic artistic achievement, when over 30 minutes of a two hour run time is filled with dead silence or overly long awkward pauses in dialogue , it's not "hip and artistic" it's just boring, nor is it "stylish and clever" when our main protagonist , who clearly has the upper hand at the end, defies common sense by putting himself needlessly in danger and not taking necessary precautions. I also don't find the retro 80s styling and soundtrack of a movie set in modern times to be "artistic brilliance" either, it's just distracting and awkward. Even our heroes' intentions seem to defy common sense,...risk your life for a girl you didn't even screw,a kid that's not yours, and her ex-con husband who doesn't even like you, that's not heroic, that's idiotic. If you want to be duped by critics who would have you believe this is "stylish and clever neo noir" go ahead and waste your time and money, but trust me ,once you dissect this movie for what it really is, it becomes a pointless exercise in nihilism whose plot points defy logic, common sense, and motivation, all glossed over by an over-stylized retro-80s feel and boring silence and self contemplation. Were there some good action sequences?, yes, but if you add them all up they take up about ten minutes of the run time. This one is a DVD rental at best, and by the way, if you saw this directors other film, "Valhalla Rising", even though the subject matter may seem completely different the theme and ending are basically exactly the same.
  • markdroulston27 August 2011
    9/10
    Fantastic retro action with art-house flair!
    It seems to be the case nowadays that film audiences, particularly at this time of year as the summer winds down, are left with a choice of seeing the latest broad appeal movies filling the multiplexes, or venturing to the local independent cinema in search of more intellectual fare. Very rarely will a film transcend these boundaries and offer a mix of Hollywood-style action and art-house flair, which is what makes Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive so unique and something to be celebrated.

    Drive tells the story of an unnamed stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) moonlighting as a getaway driver for a crime syndicate run by Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks). Seemingly a loner, the driver becomes involved in the life of his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son Benicio (Kaden Leos). After agreeing to drive for Irene's newly paroled husband Standard (Oscar Isaac), and finding himself on the wrong side of assassination contract, the driver embarks on a mission to protect Irene from the vicious gangsters who would seek to harm her to get at him. It's a well-worn plot line which in the hands of someone less adept than Refn would likely be nothing more than a forgettable thriller, yet the massively talented director, who picked up the Best Director prize at Cannes this year for Drive, crafts an engaging and thrilling throwback film elevated by masterful performances across the board.

    Refn, previously known for the fantastic Bronson, and the lesser known but equally excellent Pusher trilogy, is a man who has very clearly studied his Kubrick. Certainly most modern directors could do worse than imitate the style of one of history's greats like Stanley Kubrick, but rarely does one pull it off with the skill of Refn. In Bronson, the influence was a little more obvious, with the resulting film seeming like something of a spiritual successor to A Clockwork Orange. With Drive however, the traces are a little more subtle, visible in the impeccable technical touches, and the use of dissolves, pensive long takes, and slow zooms, a hallmark of Kubrick's catalogue. Drive is a flawlessly crafted film, filled with beautiful imagery of the Los Angeles underworld seen more often in the work of Michael Mann.

    The technical achievements of Drive are more than matched by the acting of the entire cast, and Refn shrewdly selects a wide variety of performers to populate the story. Top notch support comes from Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, the ever dependable Ron Perlman, and particularly Brooks, who jettisons his familiar comedic persona in a truly frightening and villainous performance, which will surely be on the radar of voters come awards season. Mulligan shows characteristic heart in a largely overlooked role, yet the film unquestionably belongs to Gosling. Often heralded as one of the finest actors of his generation, in Drive Gosling delivers his best work yet as the driver; a quiet role that is all the more effective due to the subtlety of the performance. He displays an ability to ratchet up the tension using just the slightest widening of his eyes and tensing of his jawline, and when the character is pushed to act more forcefully, Gosling transitions from almost silent observer to brutal aggressor so swiftly that it leaves one breathless. It's work that he makes look easy, yet it's the most focused performance seen in an action film in quite some time.

    There's something undeniably retro about Drive, with its neon opening titles and 80s infused soundtrack, but the film seems remarkably fresh. Smart action filmmaking is so hard to come by these days, so Drive delivers refreshing variety, beginning the time of year when the so-called prestige pictures are released with a bang.

    tinribs27.wordpress.com
  • Tweekums6 September 2015
    8/10
    A stylish and violent neo-noir thriller
    Warning: Spoilers
    Ryan Gosling plays an unnamed stunt driver who earns a bit on the side as a getaway driver; he is efficient and almost unemotional. Having recently moved into a new apartment he bumps into his neighbour Irene and ends up helping her when she has car trouble. They grow close and he learns that her husband, and father of her child, is in prison. When he gets out he says he wants to go straight but he owes a lot of money to people so must do one last job. The driver offers to help and drives him and his associate Blanche to a pawn shop… the robbery doesn't go as planned; Irene's husband ends up dead while the driver and Blanche flee with a million dollars of the mob's money. Those who organised the robbery want the money and they want everybody involved dead so the mob will never be able to trace the crime to them. The driver will have to get bloody if he is to save himself, Irene and her son.

    When I started watching this I didn't really know what to expect; I just knew it was about a getaway driver and had received good reviews. It crossed my mind that it might be a bit like 'The Transporter' series of films… It is not. Things start well as we see the Driver avoid the police as he drives a couple of crooks away from their job before finding out about his day job. Once he befriends Irene a very chaste relationship develops. It isn't until her husband gets out of prison and has a run in with the people he owes money to do we get a hint of the violence to come. It isn't that there is a lot of violence; it is the intensity and suddenness of it that really shocks; a woman gets her head blown off with a shotgun, a man gets his head stamped to a bloody mess and another gets a fork in his eye! This isn't the exciting, highly choreographed violence of most action movies; it is nasty and brutal… and deliberately so.

    Ryan Gosling gives a fine performance as the Driver; a character who at times seems like a hero and at others a psychopath. He is able supported by Carey Mulligan, who plays Irene; Christina Hendricks, who plays Blanche; Brian Cranston and Ron Perlman amongst others. Director Nicolas Winding Refn did a great job as he lulls us into a false sense of security with a gentle start then unleashes shocking violence and ever-increasing tension… right till the end I was unsure whether or not the Driver would survive. Overall I found this will well worth watching even if the violence was quite shocking.
  • piratecannon26 December 2012
    8/10
    Don't Mess With Stuntmen
    Drive is a movie that's been on my radar for quite some time (especially after it showed up seemingly out of nowhere and garnered almost universal critical praise). After a colleague mentioned in passing that it was unexpectedly dark and well worth a look-see, I set aside 100 minutes this past Wednesday night to finally see what all the fuss is about.

    The movie follows an enigmatic figure known only as "Driver." He's a mechanic and Hollywood stuntman who spends his nights as a wheelman for people pulling burglaries. He's quiet and, aside from the death-defying nature of both his day and night jobs, doesn't seem to have much of a "normal" life. He doesn't have any friends—apart from the gnarled shop owner who hired him some years prior—and seems consistently lost in thought. When he speaks, everyone listens (including viewers), because there's something magnetic about his persona. This is due to Gosling's impeccable depiction of an apparently tortured protagonist—I say "apparently" because even though we don't get any real back story it's clear that said Driver is constantly trying to overcome his own demons— and the crisp writing and direction. Things progress deliberately (which doesn't necessarily mean slowly), and each frame is saturated with emotional resonance.

    Much to my surprise, Drive is, at its heart, a crime drama. The plot is fueled by an east coast/west coast mob fiasco that's directly related to a botched robbery attempt our Driver was involved in. There were moments where this nebulous MacGuffin felt a little cliché (echoes of a A History of Violence abound), but make no mistake: the tension is tangible from start to finish. In fact, I can't remember a recent offering within this genre was so methodical while also managing to foster a never wavering sense of dread that something horrendous was just around the corner (okay, maybe The Departed fits the bill, but you get the point).

    Drive is like an otherwise perfect piece of fruit with a few minor imperfections. And like the bruised pear these are easily pared away, and what's left is one of the more engrossing crime-action thrillers of the past decade. Be sure to check it out.
  • CharlesCalthrop19 September 2011
    4/10
    Boring, long, annoying, and too stupid to live
    Warning: Spoilers
    First the good: Drive is cast with excellent actors. Now for the bad. Based on this picture you would not know that most of the cast could act at all. Gosling's performance makes wooden seem lifelike. This must be due to direction because Gosling has been in several recent pictures and has acted up a storm in all of them. Gosling, Mulligan, Cranston, Brooks, and Hendricks are all interesting, accomplished actors. My question is: how did they get sucked into this horrible picture? Either the script that was shot was different from the script they read, or they had guns pointed at their heads.

    Every plot element of Drive was so unrealistic that I found it impossible to suspend belief. The characters are equally unbelievable. Less than an hour into the picture I knew how it would end. The only question was whether Gosling's character would survive, but by that point I didn't care. All the characters were too stupid to live. Violence has its place in film, but it is not a substitute for characters, a plot, and a story even when the stupid are getting their just deserts.

    Nothing in this picture hasn't been well done in other movies. Drive is derivative of Layer Cake, for example. If you want to see what Drive was trying to be, rent Layer Cake.
  • jasper-173-28304930 January 2012
    1/10
    Emperors New Clothes
    Seriously people, don't believe the ridiculous hype about this movie, it is without doubt one of the worst movies I have seen in the last year. My wife and I are huge movie fans and watch on average 5 new films a week, 10 minutes into this film we are both looking at each other with a 'is this movie for real' look on our faces, and by the end we realised we had just wasted 2 hours of our lives we would never get back again.

    Rylan Gosling is a total joke from start to finish, his total lack of any script is just the start, in fact by the end of the film (and yes we did make it to the end, somehow) I was glad he still wasn't saying much, and the little that did come from it was just clichéd nonsense. This man cannot do the strong silent brooding type at all, especially not wearing a daft white satin jacket with, wait for it ..... a scorpion on the back, and a toothpick in his mouth.

    The plot, what there was of it, is so old and tired and so overdone, the whole film was completely predictable. None of the characters have any depth or interest to them, probably due to the lack of any script. Even Carey Mulligan, who is a real favourite of ours, was wasted and looked rather uncomfortable in her rather dull character - the single mum at home. And the clichés just continued at Ryan became the child's new 'best friend'.

    The violence is also completely at odds with the rest of the film. It is extreme, graphic and vicious, which is fine and dandy if the rest of the film demands it, unfortunately this film doesn't and it looks like it's been thrown in just for shock value.

    I really cannot understand why such a piece of second rate and boring drivel has got such amazing reviews on here and from some critics. Just before this we watched The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly again, now that has everything this movie doesn't but seems to be trying so hard to emulate - characters that aren't black and white, minimal dialogue to add to the tension, and stunning camera-work to keep you captivated.

    Save your time and money and watch this classic instead, Drive has nothing to offer but annoyance and the WORST soundtrack I've ever heard.
  • njoannen-2216 October 2012
    8/10
    Very Good movie
    Warning: Spoilers
    Drive was a very fascinating movie. Ryan gosling was very convincing in his role playing "driver". Driver is a mechanic/stunt driver,who lives in los Angeles.he has a very mysterious background no one really knows where he came from or who he really is. He meets this woman who lives in the same apartment building, he becomes really close to her and her son. The relationship between them becomes strained when her husband gets out of prison. driver witnesses her husband being beat up and tries to help him. he is the get away driver for the guy. unknowingly he gets involved with the mob. After a lot of killing and running away driver finally kills the leader of this group. In the end he drives out into the sunset all alone and bleeding. The director Nicolas Winding Refn did a fantastic job at telling the story in this movie. He made very good choices in the camera angles,lighting,and soundtrack. these choices really set the tone of the movie. Everything fit together perfectly. Overall this is a really good movie and everyone should see it!
  • Lloyd Bayer2 February 2012
    8/10
    Gosling leads the third generation of serious Hollywood talent.
    Something about Ryan Gosling caught my eye when I first saw him in "Murder by Numbers". Opposite Sandra Bullock, I was heavily mistaken for underestimating this relatively new actor. After "Fracture", Gosling had my full attention. Not only did he refuse to be outdone by the legendary Anthony Hopkins, Gosling vindicated his star power as an up and coming actor with some serious screen charisma. With "Drive", Gosling smashes it out of the park. The best part? He doesn't even say much in the movie but gets it done through sheer screen presence.

    Adapted from a short story of the same name, Gosling plays a nameless Hollywood stunt car driver and mechanic, who also moonlights as a getaway car driver. As the getaway driver, his rules are simple: burglars must finish the job within a five minute window and never contact him for another heist. After helping his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), and her young son, with car trouble, The Driver starts to spend time with them. Just when an air of attraction develops between The Driver and Irene, her husband Standard (Oscar Isaac), is released from prison. From here on, things turn ugly for everyone. Standard owes mobsters money for protection during his time in prison. The Driver helps Standard in what should be an easy 'in-out' heist, but the job is a setup and our hero ends up running the gauntlet with mobsters Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman).

    There are three names that I think deserve high praise for this movie. Aside from Gosling, director Nicolas Winding Refn does a phenomenal job with almost every aspect of this film. There are flaws, some factual and some due to obvious oversight in editing, but in giving Refn the benefit of the doubt, on a whole this movie is one fine piece of work. What works for Refn is the mood he creates when setting up a brooding atmosphere, along with the 1970s period setting. This is the result of seamlessly integrating an exceptional score by Cliff Martinez with intentionally mute moments. Evidently, Refn also pays attention to cinematography that focuses on a first-person perspective, literally putting the viewer in the driver's seat. Even so, you get a feel of the world surrounding The Driver, but his past always remains a mystery. It is this mysterious past, complimented with a haunting atmosphere that gives The Driver an almost super-human personality. Towards the end, this personality makes him appear unstoppable as a man on a mission.

    Coming back to characterization, and as I said before, Gosling owns it. He fits snug behind the skin of his character in a way that dates back to the days of a younger and angrier Clint Eastwood. I am not placing Gosling on par with the legend that is Eastwood; rather that Gosling's characterization of an anti-hero is memorable and justifies comparison to the likes of Eastwood, or even Robert De Niro for that matter. When it comes to Mulligan and Gosling in the same frame, the atmosphere shifts to a whole new level arising from just flirtatious eye contact. There is a definite yet restrained sensuality between both characters and even for the few muted scenes they are together, on-screen chemistry is obvious. Another worthy mention is Brooks as the cynical antagonist with a thing for blades. Incidentally, Brooks does it better than Perlman, where both play mafia foot soldiers.

    I recommend this as a must watch for its style, story, portrayals and artistic visuals. The narration flows at a steady pace but gradually picks up momentum towards the end and includes some scenes of extreme violence when you least expect it. Thankfully, Refn doesn't dwell too long on scenes of blood and gore.
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