Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Albert Brooks
Honestly if it weren't for the level of sheer violence (which at times is Tarantino-level ridiculous) I would recommend that everyone see this movie. I seriously had to close my eyes at times. That said, it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment.
Ryan Gosling plays, geeze I can't even remember his character's name. Did they even say it in the movie? Turns out, no. He's just "Driver." Huh. Anywhoodle he's a part-time stunt driver, part time mechanic and part-time wheelman. The wheelman part of his living is the one with the most rules and understandably so. You get him for 5 minutes. Anything that happens on either side of that 5 minutes is on you. You won't be able to contact him after and don't even try talking to him about the job he pulled driving for you and your brother a while back.
He meets and subsequently falls for his neighbor Irene, played by Carey Mulligan, who is raising her son while his father, Standard, played by Oscar Isaac, is in jail. Standard gets out and needs to pay off a debt he accrued in jail so the bad guys will leave him and his family alone. Good thing he's got Ryan, er, "Driver" down the hall who probably wants to protect Standard's family as much as he does. The job doesn't go so well and "Driver" now has to fix things. This is where the violence really begins.
The movie volleyed between long, beautiful moments of quiet and arty but would then jostle you with intense moments of loud and BLOODY. I think the trailer did it a disservice. People may have been expecting something along the lines of The Transporter (Statham!) and avoided Drive thinking they had seen it before. This movie was very different in so many ways and I am still having trouble describing it properly. The opening titles had an old-school feel to them and I know I've seen something similar over some 80s movie where a guy spends most of him time in his car. The editing was cool and stayed far away from the fast and overly stylized stuff we see so much of these days.
The cast was pretty great. I can't say enough about Gosling. He's incredibly talented and can handle just about anything. I could give you a list of all the movies I've loved him in but just look at his IMDB page and pick something. Carey Mulligan was great as were Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman. I have been a big Albert Brooks fan since way back and he didn't disappoint. Oscar Isaac was wonderful and he's never let me down in any of the things I've seen, even Sucker Punch. Christina Hendriks had a smallish part in this and it was nice to see her in contemporary clothes.
Sadly the movie only took in $11 million this weekend, falling far behind The Lion King re-release in 3D (UGH!) and Contagion. Hopefully it will have a better showing on DVD. Not every critic has loved Drive but it's one of those rare movies that will have some sort of impact on you.
And since that poster above is of his back here's a bonus poster.