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  • Wesley-Wang22 August 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    Near the end of the film, Driver phones the antagonist, Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks), and says: "You know the story about the scorpion and the frog? Your friend Nino didn't make it across the river."

    The fable of "The Scorpion and the Frog" goes like this: A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung by the scorpion, but the scorpion argues that if it did that, they would both drown. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to take the scorpion. The scorpion climbs onto the frog's back and the frog begins to swim, but midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung, to which the scorpion replies, "I couldn't help it. It's in my nature."

    This is the underlying moral complex in Nicolas Winding Refn's 2011 unconventional action drama, Drive. Driver, played by brilliantly by the memorable Ryan Gosling, is the frog; like how the frog is eventually drowned because of the scorpion's nature, Driver is eventually "drowned" because of the criminals he helps. Note how the scorpion he wears, which is emphasized repeatedly throughout the film, does not represent what he is, but rather what he carries on his back. We can then deduce that Driver's true nature is, in fact, good (for lack of a better word), but dragged down by his surroundings.

    Refn occasionally adds a few touches to support these themes. Irene's son, Benicio, is watching cartoons in an earlier scene and Driver asks him if he thinks a character is a bad guy. Benicio replies, "Of course, he's a shark," to which Driver responds, "So there aren't any good sharks?"

    While Driver is confined in a criminal world he despises and feeds on at the same time, he attempts to break free by finding something good in Irene and her son. Their conversations are often awkward with long pauses in between (a common criticism of this film), but not without purpose. Notice how Driver doesn't wear his scorpion jacket especially during these occasions, metaphorically exhibiting his shyness and uneasiness in such situations. This indicates his adaptation to a happier world is a difficult one, with obstacles along the way, Irene's husband/ex-convict, Standard, representing one of them. Capturing the relatable embarrassment of getting to know someone, Gosling and Carey Mulligan display breathtaking chemistry here, walking the fine line between adoration and apprehension. Yet, when Driver wears his jacket, he turns into a vicious, stone-cold killer.

    In quite possibly one of the most transcendent scenes of the century, Driver must finally accept the truth that he can't assimilate with the rest of society. His nature and situation does not enable him to do so, no matter how hard he tries. Hence, the infamous elevator sequence. A hitman has been sent to murder Driver, and Irene has just rejected Driver's offer of running away with him and the money. The three of them meet in the elevator. Driver then realizes he can't hide the other half of him, and before brutally slaughtering the hitman, moves Irene to the side, and kisses her, knowing it will probably be the last time they'll see each other. Refn's slow motion, perceptive intuitive rhythm, and atmospheric lighting transforms an ordinary romantic embrace into an absolutely breathtaking experience, and considering the context of the film, one of the greatest climactic self-realizations ever put to screen. That moment Driver saw the hitman, he knew he can't ever have Irene. He knew the next few seconds will most likely be the only time he could ever be truly happy again. He knew, that after Irene sees his other half, everything will be over.

    And it was, for the most part. Driver proceeds to decimate the rest of the scorpions, and as he drives off into the night, leaving the money behind, we're left to wonder if he dies or not. Such ambiguous endings are often debated if they're necessary or not, and I would dare argue a conclusive ending would have been more satisfactory. After all, if Driver dies, it completes the metaphor that the scorpion and frog fable started. But it begs the question: is Driver somehow different?

    Despite its ingenious thematic finesse, Drive's strongest aspects transpire more technically. As previously mentioned, Gosling's execution is just a masterclass in restrained performance; working on the paradigm of talking so little, yet saying so much. His eyes are energetic yet longing, shooting glances that make you feel scared and sorry at the same time. He absolutely rocks the outfit too, and I can't think of a single actor today who could have delivered a more convincing performance than he did.

    But of course, there is no Drive without its soundtrack. Johnny Jewel of "Desire" and the "Chromatics" assembled a magnificent score, both atmospheric and memorable. Nostalgic in its 80's vibe, and overwhelming in its synthesizers, boundless in its elusiveness, Jewel's creation is something so unique and extraordinary that the feeling expressed is so beautifully indescribable. "Nightcall" by Kavinsky is about a girl that embraces her ghost lover despite his robotic behavior, "Under Your Spell" by Desire is a haunting introspection of Driver's powerless control over his own mind ("I do nothing but think of you", "you keep me under your spell", "do you think this feeling will last forever?") , and "A Real Hero" by College is Driver's transformation into "a real hero" and "a real human being". Brilliant.

    Unfortunately, masterpiece is an overused word, and thus unfitting for Drive. Jewish mobsters Bernie and Nino are typical single-minded personalities, stereotypical villains we've seen in commercial gangster/crime films in the 90s. Shannon also somewhat acts as a service to the plot, but at least he can represent the little friendship Driver has. Flimsy and not fully realized, these criminals fall flat compared to the protagonists in Goodfellas (1990) and The Godfather (1972). If these characters were given dimensionality and more time to develop, Drive could have easily become the masterpiece it never was.

    I think why Drive is so underappreciated among the general audience is due to marketing and preconceptions. The trailer takes practically all the violence and gore present in the one and a half hour runtime and compacted it into two and a half minutes. It is perhaps the worst false advertisement I've seen for the last ten years or so, as audiences will walk into the theaters thinking Drive is a simple Friday night crime/thriller with car chase sequences and a conventional story. Ryan Gosling too! When viewers realized they were wrong, they didn't hesitate to look for hidden context or metaphorical meaning, and instead simply dismissed it as a poorly made film. Of course, I'm not talking about all moviegoers, but I'm certain a vast majority had a thought process similar to this.

    Nevertheless, Drive will stand the test of time. I'm sure of it.
  • '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.
  • 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"
  • 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.
  • ...and you do not explain why. because it is a different film than you expect. because it seems perfect and the right puzzle from so many influences. because, in same measure, is sadistic and poetic and hypnotic and an unique love story . because each character is the lead character. because it is a western and a ganster film and a fairy tale and a Sci . Fi. . a thriller. and example of brilliant performances. because, after a long time, you discover Ryan Gossling. his interpretation force, his impecable explore of the nuances of his role. because you feel more than see the film. the links, fragility, force and splendid cinematography. because it is a masterpiece. without know define that why.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I should point out at the onset that this really isn't the sort of film I like--so keep this in mind. I decided to watch "Drive" because it received a lot of critical attention but was ignored at the Oscars. And, since I'd heard so much good stuff about it, I decided to rent it.

    "Drive" is a SUPER-violent film. While the number of deaths isn't as extreme as some films, the deaths that do occur are among the bloodiest and closeup you will ever see in a movie. You see a person get their head blown apart at close range with a shotgun, you see a man stomped to death (complete with lots of squishy sound effects) and a guy stabbed in the eye and then in the throat! Do NOT let kids see this film and think twice about seeing it yourself. It is brutal...very, very brutal--and this might be why it didn't get any major Oscar nominations.

    The film begins very well. I really liked the music and thought it quite fitting. Ryan Gosling plays a guy who is a spectacularly talented driver--so much that he does stunts for films and also drives getaway for crooks. I know the film makers were trying to make him super-cool by having him show ZERO emotion and talk rarely. I just thought this was too underplayed for my taste. As for the mobsters in the film, they are quite the opposite. Albert Brooks (yes, THAT Albert Brooks) plays a maniac killer--a guy who loves to use knives and razors on his victims. Ron Perlman isn't much nicer! Bryan Cranston is also on hand but never gets around to killing anyone.

    When Gosling meets a nice lady (Cary Mulligan) and befriends her and her son, he learns she has a husband who is in jail. Instead of trying to steal her, he actually helps the guy when he gets out of jail. It seems that the mob is going to make the husband perform one last robbery--then they'll let him and his family live--and Gosling agrees to drive the getaway car. But it all blows up in their face--it's all a setup and it looks like EVERYONE will eventually die. Can the almost zombie-like Gosling manage to take on the gang and survive?

    I personally respect the film but thought it was way too over-mannered and way too artsy for my taste--as well as WAY too bloody. If this if your thing, fine. I just didn't enjoy this sort of thing though it's well made.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Yes, very likely. Of a very hit-and-miss year so far, I have seen some gems like Tree of Life, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy(the first two in a way are not for everybody though), Rio and Source Code. And then I saw Drive, which was simply brilliant.

    Like I said with some of my favourites this year, Drive is not a movie for all. It is a slow-paced movie, but I did not find it "boring"(a term I hate with a passion, as it is massively overused and hardly ever elaborated upon). For me, just because it is slow-paced, doesn't necessarily mean it is going to be a bad movie, only when other components don't work does it apply to me, which is not the case with Drive.

    Besides, Drive isn't even the only slow-paced movie around, so I don't know why people have to make such a big deal of it. There are many other movies(Godfather, 2001, Tree of Life, Brokeback Mountain) that are and deliberately so. I feel also that Drive is paced deliberately, for atmosphere.

    The pauses and the "sparse" dialogue to me were just two of many things that made Drive so great. There is such an atmosphere here, one that is very tense and beautiful at the same time. The pauses actually helped to enhance this.

    Refn does a fine job directing. From his previous work, this director showed promise, and here he delivers all the stops and gives his best directorial job so far here.

    The story starts off electrifyingly, and then slows down again without ever feeling dull, thanks to the unrelenting violence, that is part of the world that is shown here through the eyes of the title character, and adeptly edited car/chase sequences. The dialogue I also have no problem with, it is memorable without falling into cliché territory. The characters are credible, especially the titular character, whose characterisation is perhaps the most complex of the year.

    The cinematography is truly excellent, as is the editing, bringing much to the atmosphere and I'd also go as far to say that Drive could very well be the year's most visually stylish film. The colours and scenery are lush on the eyes too. The score is every bit as electrifying as the start of the movie, and manages to raise my adrenaline.

    Acting-wise I couldn't fault Drive either. Carey Mulligan and Christina Hendricks's roles mayn't be as well written as Gosling's or Brooks', but these two actresses-particularly Mulligan- manage to bring some much needed credibility to them, elevating the characters to a higher level, and Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac, Bryan Cranston and in particular Albert Brooks are terrific. Ryan Gosling is simply mesmerising, in his best performance to date. It is a quiet, yet very charismatic and intensely brooding portrayal, reminiscent of Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver for characterisation and Alan Ladd in Shane in how the role is conveyed.

    Last but not least, the elevator scene. Brutal, yet very powerful and moving, I'd say it is a contender for the best scene of 2011. In conclusion, a brilliant film that for fans of films from the 70s and 80s and were expecting a sort of nostalgic throwback in style will appreciate. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Last year one of the big films that I think was a surprise hit was called Drive. I was always curious to see this movie, but unfortunately missed it. From what I had heard it was a must see so I rented it and absolutely fell in love with it. Reminding me a bit of the old action movies from the 70's and 80's with those great old cars that could take one heck of a beating with the anti-hero who wins your heart over and then we get a million sequels trying to out bank the previous film. Anyways, Drive offers something different, a new cult classic for a generation that is a bit ADD, this gives you something exciting or great to watch each second. I can't tell you what an amazing opening chase scene they choreographed, not to mention some very exciting action scenes. Ryan Gosling continues to be a star on the high rise proving his leading man qualities and to be an action star, he just steals the show as Driver.

    Driver lives in a low-rent apartment building and works as a mechanic, stuntman and getaway driver. The Driver works anonymously, never for the same people twice, and allows them only five minutes to do their business. He meets his neighbor Irene in the apartment building elevator and later helps her and her young son when Irene has car trouble at a local market. Shannon owns the garage the Driver works at and arranges his other jobs. Shannon persuades the mobster Bernie Rose to purchase a stock car for the Driver to race after seeing the Driver's skill. Bernie's business partner is Nino, a Jewish mobster. But when Driver has been set up he realizes that not only does he have to protect himself but those he cares about most.

    The car chase scenes are so well put together, I haven't been this excited since Death Proof. I also loved how Driver's face in the first scene just stayed emotionless, he knows he's good and that no matter what how to out run the cops. He's a man with a mission who doesn't have anyone in his life, but when a woman and her son come into his, he will fight for them because they're worth it. He has a man, who's his boss, who is almost like his father figure and their relationship is not only believable but relatable for anyone. Bryan Cranston has come quite a way since Malcolm in the Middle, he does a great job and conveys such a likability to what could have been a bland and boring character. The bloodshed in the movie is absolutely insane, like I said, this reminds you a bit of a 70's action drive in movie. There's buckets of blood and tons of violence. I also loved having Ron Pearlman as this typical mobster who's terrifying to cross paths with but you can't forget that he's Jewish. What a great addition to the character. I think Drive was one of the better movies that came out of 2011, it has everything that you could want in an action movie. Action, romance, great soundtrack, cool cars and awesome chase scenes. Let's put it this way, I rented it, watched it, the next day I bought it, it was totally worth it.

    9/10
  • It would be difficult to write about parts of the storyline in this film, because many expectations change when the consequences of one event folds upon another. A terrific original screenplay defies Hollywood conventions of over-the-top plot convolutions and unrealistic twists. Sure, there are a couple coincidences, but there are many rewards for keeping the story simplified and enhance the characters' arcs. The director borrows heavily from Michael Mann in painting a cool atmosphere with glistening city lights at night and a throbbing synthesiser soundtrack. The film elevates itself above any other similar film in it's drama, perhaps better than the character rich film "The Town" from 2010. The editing emphasises the main character's withdrawn persona, hiding his emotions (indirectly hinting at his criminal past) while romancing his neighbour. Moments in conversation where a 'normal' person would express their feelings or be more extroverted, are instead tension filled passages of silence that speak louder than words. With great use of subtlety, the film does wonders in terms of depicting the main character's withdrawn mental state, but still visualising his thoughts and intentions without direct exposition.

    Another accolade must be given to actor Ryan Gosling in the lead role. We the audience must invest time into this character, which the film keeps in the first person narrative, most activities outside of his knowledge are outside of ours. He must show realistic reactions to danger, even though his past is never quite explained. The right emphasis is given to revealing moments of his capabilities, so when he is set in harm's way, we believe he can stand up to the test. The rest of the cast is well heeled in talent, allowing the sense of naturalism to provide the tone. As you may notice in critical reviews, when a film exposes no obvious weaknesses, the positive rating goes up. I myself am having a hard time exposing any weakness in this film, I felt I was in good hands, and was not annoyed by any plot contrivances. I happen to be a fan of Michael Mann, as must the director of this film, and the right homage elements work for me. I think of this perhaps of the antithesis of "Fast & Furious". One of the best films I have seen this year, could even get an Oscar nod with the screenplay or editing.
  • Seriously - there are times when I just don't get this site. I get that people have different tastes in movies - but this movie has a ridiculously high rating. To be perfectly blunt about it - it's dreadful. If you look up the word "dreadful" in the dictionary, I'm sure that there will be some reference to "Drive" in the definition. It takes almost half the movie before we really get a sense of where this is going - and even then it doesn't become very interesting. It's ridiculously and often graphically bloody and makes terrible use of bad music to try to build suspense.

    Ryan Gosling is the star of this. He plays a Hollywood stunt driver who also moonlights as a driver for more than a few shady characters. But that really doesn't matter, because ultimately his "undercover work" isn't what gets him in trouble. He gets in trouble because he falls for his neighbour - who happens to be married to a guy who gets out of prison owing a lot of money, and he decides to help him out, gets entangled in - something. I tried - hard - to follow along but I spent a lot more of my time just trying to stay awake.

    One thing I have discovered over the years is that people get caught up in the hype about a movie, and when it turns out to be dreadful, they can't admit that they got caught up in the hype, so rather than calling it a good movie, it becomes an "artistic masterpiece" or some such thing. But seriously - let's cut to the chase. This was dreadful. Just dreadful. (1/10)
  • Drive is different, intense, brutal and simple, Drive is not like any other thief action film with a loud music, lot of gunshot, jump from here to there, it's not, Drive is a face pacing movie that will keep you interested every single second of it, fills with incredible performance by all the cast especially Ryan Gosling, Drive is a great time.
  • jcooloti11 February 2022
    I'll keep it short sweet and simple. Amazing direction, cinematography, sound design, music score and script. It has an a really great theme: Love is selfless. Very romantic and brutal. The soundtrack and cinematography should blow you away. Pretty hard to not fall in love with Gosling in this film... or if you're too much of a "dude" for that then deep down you know you wanna be him... The character he plays I mean, not the actor. Okay. Just watch it. Everyone should like it. Albert Brooks gives an incredible surprise performance breaking far away from his usual that will blow you away.
  • 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.
  • Nicolas Winding Refn's previous film, VALHALLA RISING, an existential Viking epic with Mads Mikkelsen, was a breath of fresh air for this tired reviewer. I immediately marked out Refn as somebody to watch, and while his prison biopic BRONSON was a little disappointing, I waited with interest to see what his next movie would be. Well, DRIVE was it, and the good news is that it's his best one yet.

    The story is simplistic, as is always the case with Refn: the hero is a getaway driver by night and a stunt driver by day. Through no fault of his own he gets caught up in a scam involving some deeply unpleasant gangsters, and it all kicks off from there. Refn's gameplan is to contrast moments of serene beauty and tranquility with shots of unflinching and bruising violence and it works a treat; this is one of the best and most memorable movies I've seen in a good while.

    Everything about this movie is great: the moving soundtrack, the exquisite camera-work, the subtle yet profound performances. Ryan Gosling is a new to me star, but his acting works a treat; he's as iconic as Eastwood back in the day. I don't even like Carey Mulligan but even I have to admit she's on good film, too, as are the various old timers (Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks, and Bryan Cranston).

    The first half of DRIVE leads you to wondering where it's all going to go, but in the second half it all slots together nicely and becomes more predictable. That's not to say the predictability is a negative though; Refn knows exactly how to handle his thematic elements, leading to confrontations that pay off beautifully. This is a superb film throughout and one I can't wait to see again.
  • 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
  • Thunderbuck17 September 2011
    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.
  • Unlike a typical Tarantino film where its characters just about talk you to death, Drive is a film whose characters, like speechless dummies, literally silenced you to death. I'm not kidding.

    The complete absence of normal, everyday dialogue that should've taken place between its characters was so noticeably missing from Drive's story that it began to give me a serious case of brain-freeze. I mean, Drive took the meaning of being mind-numbingly dull to a whole new level of dreariness.

    In particular - It was that absolutely stunned, goose-on-the-loose, Ryan Gosling, whose lapses into braindead silence were mind-boggling beyond belief. Gosling is truly one dead-charisma actor who puts the likes of Vin Diesel to absolute shame when it comes to projecting total hollowness on screen.

    When it came to Gosling's character, Drive was not the sort of film where this person's silence represented someone who was deeply philosophical. No. It was actually quite the opposite here. Gosling's silence was not cool. It was not masculine. It was just a completely vacant nothingness.

    I couldn't help noticing that whenever Gosling spoke any line of dialogue that exceeded more than 5 words it appeared like he was actually struggling to remember what to say.

    In my opinion, this film never came to life. It's excessive violence and over-the-top gore (that came way too late in the show) couldn't save it. And the use of haunting soundtrack music and ariel views of L.A. at night only served as a distraction from the fact that Drive was nothing but a big, dull bore.

    This film also lost itself some major points by the use of blatant product placement while the Gosling character went shopping at the Big 6 Market.

    And, last, but not least - I think that actress Carey Mulligan is an absolute dog. (arf! arf!) This woman is so unattractively scrawny (almost like a young boy) and possesses absolutely no sexual allure, whatsoever, that it boggles the mind that any guy, even that drip Gosling, could get at all excited over a pathetic scrag like this one.

    The "aw-shucks" romance that transpired between the Gosling and Mulligan characters was a literal joke and a half.

    And - Drive's ending was a total empty-headed cop-out. It left the viewer suspended (along with the main character) in a void of pure nothingness.

    And - The utterly sickening sight of that dirty, filthy, crud-encrusted, "scorpion" jacket that the Gosling character continually wore, day and night, throughout the entire duration of the story really began to make my skin crawl, big-time. (ick!) And I can't tell you how many times I wished that this nitwit had accidentally swallowed and choked on that toothpick that he had forever dangling out of his mouth! (Grrrr!)

    And, finally (phew!) - I ask you - Have Action films really deteriorated to the likes of this?? Eh? Have they!!??... Sheesh!
  • 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.
  • Hollywood cannot even get car chase movies right anymore. IMDb cannot get ratings right anymore. 8.1 as of this review is more like 1.8 for me. The movie hooked me in the first five minutes then proceeded to put all three of us in the family to sleep. I even went to the men's room and came back to find the scene hadn't changed. My toenails growing had more action than this movie. Actually the movie had no reason to move along because whoever wrote this nonsense forgot to add a plot. Yes, there is no action and no plot. What else? No acting either. The mask Ryan Gosling wears shows more feeling than he does. I don't consider that a spoiler as this whole movie spoiled our evening. Avoid this movie. Do not believe any other reviews. This is a total stinker.
  • 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
  • When I started to get interested into film, I somehow started watching movie reviews on YouTube, and my favorite YouTube movie critic was and still is, Chris Stuckmann. After binge watching many of his videos, I found out that one of his favorite films is Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive. I decided to watch it one day, and I was very mixed on it at first. I then watched Chris Stuckmann's Analyzed video on Drive, but after that, I still didn't understand the movie too much. Then, one day, I just had the urge to watch it again. I don't know why, I just did, but watching it the 2nd time was a very mesmerizing experience. The soundtrack, the cinematography, the acting, and it's complex story makes Drive one of my favorite films of all time. Many people did not like this movie upon its release, and I think it is because of its misleading marketing. The trailers for Drive make it seems like the movie is a straight up action film with the utterly handsome Ryan Gosling in the leading role. The movie is actually a meticulously crafted neo-noir film that doesn't concentrate on the action, but on its complex story. This film is not only one of my favorite arthouse films, but one of my all time favorites.
  • So I walked out of the movie Drive. This is the first time I've ever done such a thing. I've seen a lot of bad movies in my day but there has never been one that infuriated me to a point in which I couldn't continue. And being a film lover, I sat down and analyzed just why exactly this movie ticked me off so much. What was it about this movie that drove me up the wall to a point in which I walked out before I even got to see the conclusion? It wasn't the acting. It wasn't the music. And it wasn't the lush cinematography. What irked me the most was that Drive was disguising itself as an indie flick when in actuality it wanted to become an action movie so badly.

    And this strategy while an insult to the entire institution of filmmaking, worked. It got rave reviews at film festivals here and there and got nice reviews from critics, lavishing the acting, supposed tension, and cinematography. I watch this movie because of the rave reviews and literally saw the Transporter movie wrapped in an indie flavor, nothing more. The first half, where we supposedly see "character development," consists of characters engaging in extremely minimal small talk and the rest of the time just staring at each other. I am not kidding. After the tense opening which reveals our main character's secret job (which is familiar to the opening of Transporter), we get nothing for about 40 minutes. Except a lot of pointless scenes.

    Drive is about a very good stuntman that doubles as a secret driver at night (Ryan Gosling) who silently falls for his new neighbor (Carey Mulligan) while at the same time gets mixed up in a mob scene (which loosely is a Transporter plot). The first half has all the development, only in the second half is when we see all the action and driving you've been observing in the previews. Based off a novel of the same name, the script must have been easy to write, because it barely has any dialogue while the story is pretty much a mashup of Tarantino-like violence with Transporter-like symptoms.

    The movie is so inconsistent, and amongst the small pieces that don't fit together they are all sparkles of what we've seen before—and what we've seen before has all been superior. The supposed amazing chase sequences? Bourne and Ronin does them better----and to a similar budget extent, The Transporter. The supposed amazing violent tension? I can name dozens of movies that do it better. And the extreme violence that is inconsistent with the theme, tone, pace, and characterization of the first half of this slum? Of course, while it doesn't quite match the plot it's been perfected years upon years ago by Tarantino and even to an extent Robert Rodriguez.

    But another big reason why I dislike this film so much is because with Drive, we've seen it all before, and yet the critics will not point this out—or choose to avoid it. We've seen these types of movies before (quiet men that has their actions do all the talking), we've seen this type of ultra-action before, and we've seen these stupid attempts at conflicting and blending genres far too many times in the indie and mainstream scene. Drive was originally billed as blockbuster during development so what do they do? Hide the fact that it's the clichéd low-caliber blockbuster that's trying so hard to be a European Tarantino hybrid. They trimmed the dialogue, screen time, and for the Cannes Film Festival nixed the action billing and called it an independent film. They literally were changing the packaging and tone of the movie based off of box office numbers. That's disgusting. They were trying to sway the critics by changing the entire genre.

    Bottom Line: Drive, you are a pathetic, pointless, stupid, trite, slow, muggy, grudgy, tasteless, senseless, disposable, forgettable movie with abysmal pacing, abysmal writing, and no sense of direction whatsoever from the first second to the last second I watched before deciding to walk away. You don't know what movie you want to become, as you literally spit yourself through at least three different genres that actually repeal each other like a magnet. You barely clock in at 100 minutes, yet it felt like two hours the first half in. I will not blame the acting, for they had next to nothing to work with. I will not blame the cinematography, which wasn't bad either. I will blame the fact that your crew decided to pretend like your movie was artsy, underground, and indie, when in actuality your movie is this ultraviolent action movie that rears its ugly head long after the audience has fallen asleep through the numbing first half.

    Your movie sucks.

    Bad.
  • recoltes30 September 2011
    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.
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