Drive review

A mysterious stuntman by day/getaway driver by night generically named Driver (Ryan Gosling) offers his services to small-time criminals in moody, neon-lit Los Angeles.  When necessary, Driver has the ability to inflict superhuman-like feats of violence on those who threaten him or his loved ones (such as the lovely Carey Mulligan, Driver’s waitress/mother neighbor whose husband will soon be released from jail).  Driver and his boss/partner (Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston) soon get involved with some gangsters of ill-repute (genre mainstay Ron Perlman and out-of-the-blue Albert Brooks who has a ball in his first role as a gangster) and everything spirals out of control.  It all sounds like a pitch for a film adaptation of a video game, but Drive is a surprisingly classy, laid back action film with an oddball cast and a distinct style that leans more towards art houses than multiplexes.  Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla Rising) fills the screen with lens flares, reflections, and heroic posturing that nicely complement the film’s synth-driven soundtrack and overall 80’s throwback vibe.  Gosling is effectively intense as the film’s stoic hero, which embodies what little subtext the script contains.  While it may not amount to much thematically, Drive is a hell of a…

Drive opens wide in Philly-area theaters today.

Official site.

Author: Eric Bresler

Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.

One comment

  1. Thanks for the recommend on this, I watched it last night. Definitely like an art house step-child of GTA: Vice City and Collateral, but mellowed out by Gosling’s badder-than-badass acting and subtle soundtrack. I think the montage of him and the mother/son that happens halfway through didn’t have to be there, seems like a borrowed plot device that’s not even needed, considering that it’s only supposed to cover less than a week’s worth of time. I did think it was strange/funny that they used that “Hand Covers Bruises” track from The Social Network though (during the scene when he goes to visit her at work/Denny’s); it was a little too noticeable.
    The copy I had (downloaded) cut to black for like 2+ mins at the end, no credits or anything… I assume that’s because it was a ripped screener copy or something… so I’m not 100% sure I missed something else that was supposed to happen other than watching him drive away with that hole in his gut. Overall a great flick though.

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