Ryan Gosling plays a nameless
driver who doesn't say much during the course of DRIVE, the latest film by director Nicolas Winding Refn (BRONSON, VALHALLA
RISING). Driver works as a Hollywood stunt driver and at an auto garage while moonlighting as a wheelman for hire (for
heists in Los Angeles). He stays to himself and only talks when he is talken to (except when he has something
to say). Ryan Gosling plays Driver with a cool silent intensity. Ryan's character gets involved with
Irene (Carey Mulligan), a neighbor in his apartment building. He starts to care for Irene and her little boy,
but things get complicated when Irene's husband Standard gets out of jail early. When a local gangster threatens
to hurt Irene and the boy (if the husband doesn't do a pawn shop robbery), Driver decides to help Standard. The heist
goes wrong and the Driver finds himself getting deeper into a mess as he tries to keep Irene and the boy safe.
DRIVE flows like a Michael
Mann film from the 1980s. It is a stylistic character drama that burns slow and explodes with action when it needs
to. Nicolas Refn is able to create films that are different from the previous film. He is able to
adapt each film to its own narrative flow and create unique stylistic films. He casts his films with character
driven actors in mind and DRIVE is a film where star Ryan Gosling convinced the producers to bring Nicolas Refn as the director
of DRIVE. DRIVE is populated with actors who like character roles (Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston, Ryan Gosling).
DRIVE ultimately is a journey for Driver as he
goes from a silent player to an aggressor within the course of the film. DRIVE introduces the characters
and intertwines their destinies by the middle of the film and the story continues into darker territory.
It captures Los Angeles in a way that Michael Mann does with the characteristic touches Refn brings to his film.
LA comes alive at night through DRIVE. I will be waiting to see what Refn does with his next film as a director.
DRIVE is a sublime film that is one of Refn's strongest films and it is one to watch.
this movie review is (c)9-20-2011 David Blackwell
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