What a film. What. A. Film.
Drive follows an essentially nameless protagonist (The Driver) as he goes about doing this one main move in his life. He is a successful stuntman and getaway driver, he has another business that is starting with his business partner of sorts, Shannon (Bryan Cranston), and along with that he has began to develop a relationship with his neighbor (played by Carey Mulligan) and her son.
Then everything starts to break down around him. The film focuses on the events surrounding a heist that The Driver pulls with Irene’s husband who was recently from prison and owes a debt to some mobsters. While the heist is being pulled a few very key things occur that I don’t want to give away for the sake of story. Following that it is essentially The Driver’s story of revenge and how he is protecting the few people that e has grown close to. Although the story is not that complex it is pulled off masterfully.
The film opens with a ten minute sequence where you see the Driver doing his job and it is remarkable. This job begins with the Driver alone in his apartment explaining his procedures over the phone and rules that it entails. From there you follow him on a job where he helps two armed robbers get away from the police. Not only is this scene stylish and impeccable, it also sets the bar for what’s to come. As simple as the scene may sound it is done to perfection by the films director Nicolas Winding Refn.
The first thing in this film that needs to be mentioned and praised is the acting. Ryan Gosling is the man of the moment as he has just been constantly displaying his talent in every project that he has taken on over the last few years. In this film Gosling delivers what I consider to be one of, if not, his greatest performance yet. The character he plays isn’t dialogue driven as much as he is driven by facial expressions and small mannerisms. It takes a real actor to have you feel for a protagonist that hardly says a word, and yet he does it.
Along with Gosling are the wonderful supporting performances from Carey Mulligan, Ron Pearlman, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, and the standout Albert Brooks as the mobster Bernie Ross. Brooks steals every scene he’s in here. He was this presence and this force that is undeniably prevalent. Following just behind Brooks, the next best supporting performance is easily Carey Mulligan. She has essentially the same acting responsibilities as Gosling in that it’s more facial than vocal.
One of Drive’s main selling points to me is its style and its flare. Like most films by Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive is a beauty to behold. Every shot is like a portrait, whether it be of a character and their emotions or an action that is occurring on screen. Everything just feels so unique and wonderful. From the techno-pop soundtrack to the interesting pink font of the credits, to the beautiful backdrops, everything is perfect.
The last two things I want to touch on is the writing and directing. Although there isn’t much dialogue in most of the film, in the scenes where there is it is phenomenal. Especially every scene where the Drive has a mini monologue or a threat. Great writing by Amini. Finally we have the directing by NWR. This man is an artist where every stroke he makes is a stroke of genius. He did it with Bronson, Valhalla Rising, and now Drive. One of the greatest filmmakers working today.
In conclusion this film is masterful and deserves to be seen by all.