Drive, a nostalgic neo noir nightride

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In Drive, an anonymous stunt driver works in a garage by day and roams the streets of L.A. by night. The shy guy offers his services as a getaway driver for holdups and heists. After meeting the girl next door in his Echo Park apartment he decides to take it easy. But when his love interest’s husband is released from prison, some crooks threaten him and his family. Our protagonist is willing to help out his love rival to protect his wife and son but things get messed up.

Carey Mulligan as a lonely waitress in Drive

Carey Mulligan as a lonely waitress in Drive

This aesthetically pleasing neo-noir film by Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Only God Forgives, The Neon Demon) is based on the novel Drive by a certain James Sallis. The Danish director who is color blind and doesn’t have a driver’s license lets the images speak for themselves.

Few words are spoken by the driver (Ryan Gosling: The Place Beyond the Pines, La La Land, The Big Short) throughout the movie and the chemistry between him and his possible girlfriend Irene (Carey Mulligan; The Great Gatsby, An Education, Shame) aren’t supported by dialogue but by glancing at each other for ages.

The isolation and nostalgia of the movie are supported by the great retro sounding score by Cliff Martinez and French electropop musician Kavinsky. Ryan Gosling’s antisocial character shares some resemblance with Jake Gyllenhaal‘s character Louis Bloom in Nightcrawler from 2014.

Whose who in Drive?

Director Winding Refn instructing his favorite actor Bryan Cranston

Director Winding Refn instructing his favorite actor Bryan Cranston

A big fan of Breaking Bad, Refn asked Bryan Cranston (Argo, Little Miss Sunshine, Trumbo) to play the part of the garage owner. Drive is one of the first films featuring Cranston who used to be a tv star known especially for Malcolm in the Middle.

The jailbird and dubious husband of Irene is played by Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina, Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year) who was relatively unknown at the time, perhaps only for Alejandro Amenábar‘s Agora.

The badasses in the movie are Mad Men‘s redhead Christina Hendricks, Son of Anarchy and Hellboy Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks known for such diverse films as Taxi Driver and Finding Nemo. Needless to say, any one of them gets their ass kicked by Gosling’s driver who’s come a long way since The Notebook.

Official trailer for Drive

 

Drive (2011)

Drive (2011)
8.4

Directing

9/10

    Screenplay

    8/10

      Cinematography

      9/10

        Acting

        8/10

          Music and sound

          9/10

            Pros

            • Cool eighties like music
            • Great visuals
            • Unpredictable

            Cons

            • Some slow moments
            • Extreme slow motion