Nicholas Winding Refn’s new film is a stylish one that pays tribute to the movies of the 70s and 80s. From the heros who had no names to the cars of that era which now get dusty sitting in someone’s garage. Drive is a film that is about driving. Simple. A man who is a stunt driver by day, a getaway driver by night. Leading a double life. But there is much more at stake as he fights to protect the people he loves
The Driver or Kid (Ryan Gosling) as he is sometimes referred to as, is a mysterious figure who keeps to himself. He seldom speaks, a man with few words, a man with no name. We see his daily routine at the beginning; driving round the streets of L.A, evading the police is second nature to him. His only real human connection comes in the form of Irene (Carey Mulligan), who is his neighbour. Through her and her son, we see the human form of the Driver but things are not meant to be, as he must protect her when a job goes horribly wrong.
The acting in this film is great. Ryan Gosling is superb as the mysterious Driver. He carries the film and the scenes of him wearing his scorpion jacket are great. His face carries no emotion when he is doing his job. You can really feel his presence when he is on screen. Though he speaks little, as Winding Refn said, his aura on screen is powerful and captivating.
Carey Mulligan is also wonderful as Irene, the innocent neighbour who gets caught up in the dark underworld of L.A. She portrays the innocence in the film which the Driver seeks to protect by any means.
Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman play mobsters who put the Driver and Irene’s life in danger when the job goes wrong. Brooks is great as the Bernie Rose, a selfless killer who has a thing for knives. Perlman also gives a good performance.
The first half of the film depicts the daily life of the Driver and his interactions with Irene and her son. But there comes a turning point when Irene’s husband comes home from prison and suddenly everything turns incredibly dark and violent. This is a very violent film and Refn doesn’t cut out the scenes depicting death. It turns incredibly violent during the second half of the film and it is very brutal. There is one scene in an elevator that is a great juxtaposition; beautiful and brutal.
The film is also incredibly well shot and Refn gives us some great shots of L.A at night. The cinematography is excellent with some notable scenes that stick in your mind long after. The music choice is interesting and Refn also said that he wanted to mix the dark film with an electro-pop score. The effect gives a stylish feel to the film.
Overall, I enjoyed the film and thought this a well acted, superbly shot and well directed film. As soon as the bright pink title goes onto the screen and you see an emotionless Ryan Gosling in that jacket, you know it’s a special film.