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September 18, 2011

Driver: If I drive for you, you give me a time and a place. I give you a five-minute window, anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours no matter what.

I tend to spend most of my time during a film figuring out what is flawed about it, but every once in a while, I am graced with a film where I can sit down and enjoy every minute of it. That’s exactly what I got from Drive, a hyper-violent, gruesome, tense, and throughly entertaining film throughout. Not only was it supremely entertaining, it is also wholly original; as well as a masterful lead from indie-guru Ryan Gosling, stylish direction from Nicolas Winding Refn, who all contribute to making Drive one of the best films of the year.

Ryan Gosling stars as Driver, who spends his days as a Hollywood stunt driver and a worker and a car repair shop. By night, Driver drives (yep, there will be probably hundreds of uses of the word “drive” in this review) criminals to and from their heist. When a heist involving his neighbors husband who was recently released from prison goes wrong, and the criminals find out who Driver really is, it’s time for him to take charge of the situation and to do whatever it takes to get payback and stay alive. 

I guess the first thing I’ll talk about is the fact that it in no way is an action film. It is a tense drama that features some strong violence. There are some defining action moments, but this is mostly a slow paced thriller, which was definitely a brilliant aspect pertaining to the film’s style. The first hour or so consists only of strong character development, and a lot of leading up to the last forty minutes where a lot of mindless yet awesome action occurs. 

The action sequences are arranged quite well. The whole film itself has sort of an art house feel to it, and this action seems pretty gritty, and pretty realistic if I may say. Don’t mistake this for another Fast and Furious film, this is its own movie, and the action here is something [similar] to what would really happen in a situation like this. The only thing that was over exemplified was the blood, there was a lot of blood. For anyone who enjoys gruesome films, this is right up your alley. Even if you are into superhero movies, this is for you; according to actor Ryan Gosling (found HERE).

Speaking of Ryan Gosling, 2011 seems to be the year of Gosling, as he’s starred in the hit romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love (my review can be found HERE), and the upcoming Clooney film The Ides of March. He was also in Blue Valentine, The Notebook, and Lars and the Real Girl. Drive is his best film so far. Even judging by the original trailer, you could tell Gosling would be great. He was spectacular. Seeing Gosling’s character strolling down the street, blood stains all over his super-cool Scorpion Jacket is a pleasure to watch.  

The supporting cast are also definitely great too. I’ll start with my favorite of them; Albert Brooks, who switched over from his usual good guy character to a bad-ass man-in-charge, and Brooks’ performance is masterful, scary, and sheds some blood. Hellboy star Ron Perlman is also a favorite of mine in this, and is a great addition to an already well-picked cast. The film featured other great performances from Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks, and Carey Mulligan.

The film gets it’s amazingly original arthouse style due to the fantastic direction from acclaimed Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla Rising, and another Ryan Gosling film Only God Forgives).  Nicolas’s directing style is wholly unique, and wholly original, as well as wholly entertaining, and wholly beautiful. What I love the most about his directing style, as far as indie films go, was not only his lack of complexity (I mean that in a good way), but his arthouse style was very unique. I was absolutely mesmerized by it; it is almost impossible to describe, you have to see it to believe it.

Drive is one of the best experiences I’ve had watching a film. It’s always good when a movie ends, and you realize that it was flawless (as well as giving it a huge round of applause, as my theater did). Drive is a very fun, gory, gruesome, but has a sense of tense drama moments (which basically consists of the entire first hour until the hyper-violent era of the film occurs), as well as a mesmerizing performance from Ryan Gosling, and great direction from Nicolas Winding Refn, who all make this film that is destined to become a classic.

Drive = 5 out of 5

Experience the twists and turns of Drive anywhere in the world with LOVEFiLM, where you can watch films online – whether they’re the latest Ryan Gosling action movie or something with a few less thrills and spills!


14 Comments leave one →
  1. Sean Skywalker permalink
    September 19, 2011 2:55 pm

    There’s some enjoyment involved, as my audience also loved it; the only problem is that I didn’t. I found it wholly annoying, and quite stupid. All it consisted of was long looks from Gosling which were plain awful. The action wasn’t nearly as good or gruesome as I was led to believe, and the filmmaking style wasn’t all too radiant. I’ll admit, I had a bit of fun throughout, particularly the opening scene, but the film doesn’t have enough punch included to keep my attention for it’s way too long running time. I guess if you are into this kind of stuff it’s right up your alley, but I just couldn’t get into it.

  2. September 19, 2011 3:21 pm

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy it, Sean. You’re right, it’s not for everyone, but for the people who it is right for, they will have on hell of a time. Thanks for checking out my review!

    • June 14, 2014 6:38 pm

      If not for your writing this topic could be very contlouved and oblique.

  3. September 20, 2011 10:21 am

    wow! a perfect score! I haven’t watched it yet, so I didn’t read your review. I just looked at what you scored it…and wow! I’ve heard some good things about this one!

    I will be sure to revisit once I have seen it and written my own review!

    Have a great day!

  4. September 20, 2011 12:15 pm

    Yes, it is my third perfect score of the year (The other two being Attack the Block and X-Men: First Class). You should see the movie before seeing the trailer or reading other reviews (as I did), it makes the viewing experience wonderful. Thanks for visiting!

  5. September 21, 2011 6:48 pm

    Keep up this good work, you have a nice blog over here with much good information! When you post some new stuff, I’ll visit your blog again and I’ll follow it.

  6. September 21, 2011 8:14 pm

    I agree with you Ryan is fantastic here. He has this ability to convey so much without saying anything. His best performance since The Believer.

  7. September 21, 2011 8:20 pm

    He was also quite good in Blue Valentine, and basically every other role.

  8. September 22, 2011 10:06 pm

    Enjoyed your review and absolutely loved this film. Have you purchased some leather driving gloves and a scorpion jacket yet?

    The dialogue in this film reminded me of an Ernest Hemingway short story.

  9. September 23, 2011 8:27 am

    I really want that Scorpion Jacket…

  10. September 23, 2011 5:32 pm

    It’s a small touch, and I doubt it means anything, but I love that Driver is listening to a Clippers game during the prologue. Any other movie it would have been the Lakers. At first you think his interest is that of a quirky fan picking an odd time to care about the score, but soon we discover why he’s invested. It’s very cleverly brought in. Nice review Matt.

  11. Pedro Audette-Diaz permalink
    September 24, 2011 2:45 pm

    Really good write-up. I absolutely loved this movie. Not only is it destined to become a classic, but a cult classic as well. I’ll catch more of your reviews on Flixster!

    The Master Director

  12. September 26, 2011 9:55 pm

    Thanks Pedro!

  13. January 28, 2012 3:59 pm

    Great review man. Drive was the best film of the year for me, yet seems to be ignored by Academy with the recent noms.

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