Drive

"Extraordinary"

Drive Review


Based on the James Sallis novel, this lean, stylish thriller is confidently assembled to pull us into an outrageous series of events. And it's no surprise that Refn won best director at Cannes for his fine work here.

A young Hollywood stunt driver (Gosling) moonlights as a getaway driver, overseen by his mentor Shannon (Cranston), who has just negotiated a partnership with businessman Bernie (Brooks) and his shady partner Nino (Perlman). But the driver's isolated life is breached when he gets to know single mother Irene (Mulligan) and her young son (Leos) who live in his building. And when Irene's husband (Isaac) is released from prison, the driver offers to help clear an old score so he can start with a fresh slate. Of course, nothing goes as planned.

The film is shot in an achingly cool style that's lush and lurid. The dialog is sparse, the takes are long and slow, and the details sometimes flicker around the edges. But each scene is fraught with tension due to suggestive editing, a pulsing score and low-key performances. Watching the film is almost dreamlike, as Refn sweeps us along the road, hypnotising us with L.A.'s night-time lights and the purring of each car's engine. And as the plot writhes with action, emotions actually become stronger.

The acting is almost invisible; Refn's key direction seems to have been, "Show nothing on your face. OK, now a tiny smirk." This gives the film's inter-relationships an enjoyably slow-burning intensity. We only get brief glimpses of the back-stories, but the connections between the characters are startlingly vivid. And the growing link between Gosling and Mulligan is both sweet and a bit unnerving, mainly because that's how it feels to the characters themselves.

Along the way, each person surprises us, usually in quietly suggestive scenes that are so intimate that the shift into intensely grisly violence is that much more upsetting. Refn expertly manages the film's tone, even when the plot seems to get trapped in its own machinations. It's amazing how deeply we feel everything that happens, even though there isn't much that we can actually identify with. But we'd love to be this cool.



Drive

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th September 2011

Box Office USA: $35.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $74.1M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: FilmDistrict

Production compaines: Bold Films, Odd Lot Entertainment, Marc Platt Productions, Motel Movies

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 218 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Michel Litvak, John Palermo, , , Adam Siegel

Starring: as Driver, as Irene, as Blanche, as Bernie Rose, as Shannon, as Nino, Andy San Dimas as Stripper, as Standard, Kaden Leos as Benicio, as Tan Suit, James Biberi as Cook, as Doc, as Chauffeur, Tiara Parker as Young Woman, Tim Trella as Hitman #1, Jim Hart as Hitman #2, Tina Huang as Waitress, as Bearded Redneck

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