Cast includes: Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Albert Brooks (The Muse), Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Ron Perlman (Tangled)
Director: Nicholas Winding Refn (Bronson)
Genre: Action/Crime/Drama (2011)
In brief: “It’s a late-model Chevy Impala, the most popular car in LA. No one will be looking for you,” Shannon tells the driver. With extra horsepower, “it’s gonna fly.” Ryan Gosling’s character (without a name) is the driver. He spells out the details of the contract up front. He gives them 5 minutes. If they get out to the car in time, he’ll drive them wherever they need to go… no matter what it takes. The Kid… as he’s sometimes called… “is a sure thing behind the wheel.” In addition to being a getaway driver, he’s a Hollywood stunt driver, an auto mechanic and his boss, Shannon, has racing circuit plans for him.
In the meantime, The Kid has warmed up to his new neighbors, Irene and her young son Benicio… actually, “warm” might not be how you’d describe the relationship. The Kid is a very solitary young man. As Shannon makes deals to get The Kid into professional racing, the plot thickens. “Anything you need… you call. Shannon has a lot invested in you. And so do I.” (Somehow we suspect that statement has deeper meaning.) When Irene’s husband gets released from prison, he has a party to celebrate second chances. (Why do we suspect this second chance isn’t quite what it seems?)
Drive has all the makings of a cult classic. The characters don’t act as much as they emote. But that said… Drive has some first-rate emoting. The plot doesn’t develop as much as it thickens. But that said… it’s a thick stew by the end. We’re drawn in by the super coolness of the film, interesting visual effects, great driving scenes and intense emoting. The tempo alternates from slow and moody to heart-pounding action sequences. Its R rating is well earned… with so much bloody violence that it becomes one of the film’s humorous aspects, assuming you appreciate dark humor. Director Nicholas Winding Refn skillfully plays with our reflexes, and Ryan Gosling gives an amazing performance with very little dialogue. This one clearly isn’t for everyone, but if it’s for you, you may want to see it more than once.
3 popped kernels
You can’t judge a car (or driver) by its cover… it’s what’s inside that matters
Primary Audience: Young adults
Gender Appeal: Macho
Distribution: Mainstream wide release
Tempo: Pure adrenalin rush & in no hurry
Visual Style: High-end production
Character Development: Not that kind of film
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure entertainment