Drive is the type of film that at we have seen a thousand times before and also never seen anything quite like it. A story grounded in the annals of film history and noire fiction lore and also so stylish that it makes you feel cool by just watching the opening credits.
The story is set in modern LA, where the central protanist driver, in every sense of the word drives. Drives for criminals, for 80’s film moguls, and for his crooked but very loyal boss Shannon. When Driver becomes infutated with his new neighbour Irene he is willing to do anything for her, inlcuding helping out her ex convict husband to pull of one last job. In the fashion in which these things go something goes wrong and driver is lead down a dark and ever twisting road that leads to murder and tragedy.
Ryan Gosling plays the lead character of Driver (left without a name). Throughout the film he only speaks about a page of dialogue and seems to have socialising skills that would border on mild autism. But Gosling gives the character such charm and an aura of “cool” that you want to watch him do the most minial of tasks to the most exciting and in this film also ultra violent. In every sense driver is the type of hero that only exists in folklore or in fiction. The silent hero with no past and no real future, who stands up against evil and injustice a the cost of his own being. What sets apart Driver from other characters of the past however is how malicious and violent his actions can be at times, creating a great confliction within the character that is never seen from under his steely looks excpet in explosions fury (often ones that will make you cringe as much as they will laugh).
The cast is well rounded with everyone bringing their A game, special mention needs to be given to Albert Brooks who plays up the archetype of the mobster while also giving the character a type of “damaged soul”, being at once all about self preservation while still being repentful and realistic about his actions.
What really sets this film apart from anything that you will see this year is just how damn stylish and cool this thing look and feels. The LA that director Refn presents to the audience is one that is at once gritty and filled with sinister characters (much like scoresse’s New York in Taxi Driver) and one that is also slick and full of empty landscapes, only populated with the neon lights and simple buildings. The score is also one that will have the inner hipster in all of us grinning like idoits, borrowing a lot of its music from synth heavy eighties pop. Giving a sense of cool, experimental and alien. It all works to really well to give you a type of film with the vibe reminisct of a seventies noire films while having a level of self awareness that could only be achieved in today’s world.
Not to give anything away, but the latter half of this film is violent. And i mean violent, while being sporadic these moments will be the ones that really polarise the audience. I won’t give anything away if you haven’t seen it yet but lets just say that Gosling earns his “badass’ stripes and could beat the shit out of himself from the notebook (probably stomp that version of himself into pulp..AHA).
While being slow paced and in the beginning and maybe too violent for some, I enjoyed Drive. If you want to see something different and at the very least refreshing this year its worth a checkout. Lets hope that Nicolas Winding Refn can have a good and interesting run in Hollywood, making movies at the very least as half as cool as this one.
Now i’m just wondering how much and where do i get a scoprion jacket from?