October 31, 2011

Drive (2011)

Absolutely brilliant! With its quietly calculated and mysterious Ryan Gosling (who is taking a break from being the heartthrob du jour, but perhaps only perpetuating his status with his strong, silent-type unnamed hero) the film is everything I wanted it to be and more. From the Dirty-Dancing-style hot-pink titles and electro 80’s sountrack, you immediately realize that this is not yet another Fast and the Furious or Transporter rehash. It is a driving movie but it is not a movie that’s all about driving. In fact, the driving sequences are but a small portion of the film, and I rather interpret the title as the drive that pushes someone to achieve their goal, whatever that may be in the driver’s case. While very little is said about Gosling’s character, he is surrounded by an array of well defined characters (the fragile Mulligan, the ruthless Perlman and Brooks, the flawed, father-like Cranston) through which we learn much more about the driver than we do from his own actions. If there is any downside to this, is that Christina Hendricks is severely underused, with but a brief role that doesn’t do her justice, but considering the the rest, can easily be forgiven. It’s been compared to everything from Tarantino, to Lynch to classic noir, as well as the more obvious references to 60’s/70’s driving films (Bullitt, The Driver) but despite the comparisons, Drive stands on its own, with Refn providing his personal brand of art/action/drama that is at once original and a tribute to its predecessors, making this one a definite must.