Drive is a simple film really that is frankly beautiful and brutal. It won’t be a film for everyone. For me the movie is a reminder that Hollywood and Los Angeles is frankly a beautiful place. The film is a love letter to film, noir, and Los Angeles. Like I said the plot isn’t the deepest. Ryan Gosling plays Driver, a man who only speaks when necessary. A Hollywood stunt driver that falls for his neighbor, played by Carey Mulligan, who has a son with a man who just got out of prison. This man, whose name is Standard, owes protection money to some bad people. Driver gets involved to help his neighbor and her son. Things quickly go down hill and Driver finds himself having to resort to using the rage he has inside him to pick off the men pulling the strings.
Ryan Gosling is a star, it’s been a good year for him. Here though he reminds you of the classic bad ass actors. Every move he has reminds you of Steve McQueen. He possibly only says fifty words in the entire movie yet in silence we know exactly what he’s thinking. The rest of the cast is really solid. Carey Mulligan plays a very innocent woman who is a waitress. She is almost too innocent at times, we find out how she got involved with a thug like Standard, she was dumb and sixteen, got pregnant and has either been too afraid or too dumb to leave him. That one scene makes you understand Mulligan’s character, why because it’s clear there are many women out there that make dumb mistakes like this. Albert Brooks, who I love, plays one of the most cut throat gangsters we’ve seen in film for a while. Most people know Brooks these days as being the voice of the father fish in Finding Nemo. Here he is down right scary, he doesn’t mind using brutal violence to get a point across. Every scene he is in is a joy since his dialogue is just so much fun.
The key to Drive being so good is the films look. Nicolas Winding Refn just has an amazing eye. This pretty basic crime drama suddenly become something more. Every scene he is doing something a little different. The one thing people should know is that the movie is violent. The film is pretty violent free for about forty five minutes but as things go down hill the violence picks up. Most people won’t mind this but for me it stood out, it’s not a negative, the violence makes the plot stronger. The gangsters are scarier this way, Driver is a man with anger inside of him, without the violence we wouldn’t understand any of this.
It also must be stated that the soundtrack is mind blowing, you could watch this movie with your eyes closed and enjoy yourself. This is one film that does a very good job of making Los Angeles look cool. Most film loving shooting cities like New York or Chicago, most think of L.A. and just think of highways and Hollywood. Sure a movie called Drive focuses on that in L.A. there are a lot of roads. Most people in that city drive most of their day. The film uses this and in a way makes Los Angeles a character in the film. It is something to behold and this and maybe Collateral are two very true Los Angeles films. Just do yourself a favor and check this movie out. You will not be let down, Gosling is a movie star and this is the movie that cements that.