13 oct. 2011

My Review: Drive (10/10)

¨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 don't sit in while you're running it down; I don't carry a gun... I drive. ¨

Drive is probably my favorite film of the year so far. I hadn’t even watched the trailers for this movie so I had no idea what it was about, but what a special surprise I was in for. The movie hooked me from the very opening action scene up to the very end. Yes, the film is slow at times, but it`s also intense and original. This arthouse action movie works in great part thanks to a terrific performance from Ryan Gosling. He keeps on surprising me; he is a hugely talented actor and can excel in any role. This time he proved himself in this action film as the lead man. The reason the movie is so slow at times is because it is character driven, and Gosling`s character is so quiet and laid back; he hardly speaks and the dialogues he has feel real and authentic. The dialogue in this film was brilliant, everything about it made it perfect. I would absolutely watch this movie over and over again because it is just that good. I couldn’t believe the direction the movie was taking. It is one of those action movies that is hard to predict and I loved not anticipating what was going to happen next. Gosling is a star, he is great in this movie and the feel that the movie has is just so amazing. It`s hard to get this overwhelmed by an action film these days because we`ve seemed to have seen it all, but Drive feels fresh and original. It doesn’t focus so much on the action and the heists as much as it does on the characters. Gosling`s character grows increasingly dark over the course of the movie, and so does the violence in this movie. It really has a Tarantino/Cronenberg feel to it (A History of Violence, Pulp Fiction). Drive was amazing, but many people may be put off by all the violence.

The movie focuses on a driver (Ryan Gosling) who`s name is never said in the film; he has a part time job as a Hollywood stunt man specializing in crash scenes, but spends most of the time at a mechanic shop working for Shannon (Bryan Cranston) on some classic cars. Shannon knows that this guy is extremely talented and wants him to become a NASCAR driver, but in order to do so he needs to buy a car first. Shannon decides to make a deal with an old mobster friend named Bernie (Albert Brooks) who gives him the money to buy the car. Bernie also has an associate, Nino (Ron Perlman), a New York Jewish mobster who broke Shannon`s pelvis in the past for trying to overcharge him for a job he had done. Differences settled however they all decide to put their money on the driver, who is a quiet fellow who spends some nights as a wheelman on heist jobs. He is very professional about it. He soon begins a friendship with a neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son, Benicio (Kaden Leos) and the relationship seems to slowly develop into a romantic one until Irene`s husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac) returns home from prison. Standard promises to leave his past life behind him, but he owes a lot of money to some people back in prison who offered their protection in exchange. Now Standard is forced to accept a heist or else his family will be in great danger. The driver finds out about the threat and decides to help Standard, but something goes wrong in the heist and the movie develops violently from that point forward. 
I can`t help but repeating myself when I say this was a great film. Ryan Gosling really gives one of the year`s best performances and his character is really intriguing. Gosling is a smart actor, he knows what roles to accept and he makes the best of them. In Drive he was given a really great script that allowed him to show off his full potential. The character is so central to the film that Gosling basically carries the movie, although the supporting cast was also great. Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, and Albert Brooks were great in their roles, and Carey Mulligan also had great chemistry with Gosling. Their relationship felt very real and nothing felt forced. Drive isn’t your typical Hollywood action film, it`s more of an indie film, and a dark one. There is a lot of violence, some strong scenes, so it might not be for everyone. I really enjoyed it and thought it was one of the best arthouse action films I`ve seen in a long time. Last year I was blown away by Affleck`s action film, The Town, but this year Drive manages to surpass it. Gosling`s character reminded me a lot of De Niro en Taxi Driver; he is just that good. The action scenes were also very well choreographed and there were some great driving scenes, although the best thing about the movie was the character driven story. I also enjoyed the soundtrack of the film which felt retro. Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (known for The Pusher trilogy) did a great job with this film, and Hossein Amini deserves a nomination for his screenplay adaptation of James Sallis`s book. Drive is one of the best films of the year. 


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