Drive is every film buff’s dream. It reminds me of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly if it was made in the Fast and Furious fashion. The best compliment I can give the film is that it is what Fast and Furious would be if it were a good movie. The characters, the plot, and overall ambiance of the film make it one of the more entertaining films that have come out in awhile. It’s hard to write anything about Drive cause all I can really say about it is that it is an all around solid film. It’s interesting to see the movies that make a up and coming star and for Gosling you can list this with Blue Valentine and probably Ides of March (when it is finally released) that help bring him up to the class of Christian Bale and the late Health Ledger (haha two Dark Knight actors, love that movie).
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Drive is how slick of a film it is. Slick as in everything is so precise and everything flows so well together. Most of the credit has to go to Nicholas Refn who creates a Los Angeles where crime and injustice is everywhere and the only ones to fear are those with nothing to lose (or almost nothing). This is the first Refn film I have seen (regrettably I haven’t watched Bronson all the way through) and I have to say he seems like an edger Michael Mann. Collateral and Drive would be a great double feature as both deal with a lonely Los Angeles and where the ruthless roam free. The cinematography is great and helps create a dark and gritty feel and the sound editing is great. On a technical level this is the best film I’ve seen all year and the script and acting only helps. The script helps set up the action but takes its time to create a very exciting 3rd act. It also gives the actors some edgy and intense dialogue that is reminiscent of Heat.
The ensemble here is great where there are no bad performances to be found. The stand out though is Albert Brooks who plays the main villain of the film. He treads the line between psychopath and compassionate so well. He creates one of the most conflicted villains where the audience doesn’t really know what to think of him until he shows his true colors. Then there is Ryan Gosling who plays the “Man with no name” part as about as good as you can. His performance is measured in glances rather than actual dialogue delivery and if he wasn’t able to pull that off the film would have paled in comparison. Then there is Ron Pearlman who gives a great performance and is probably the most evil character in the movie. Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks may have characters that are colored in shades of gray but Pearlman’s character is all black and white. He plays the part well even if his character is one-dimensional.
Drive does have its flaws though. It is probably the most violent films I’ve seen in awhile and although I don’t mind violence when it fits, it seems a little over the top here. The movie is gritty and dark and it doesn’t need brains and blood flying everywhere to solidify its tone. The violence really took me out of the movie at times and really is more of a distraction than it is a highlight. The film doesn’t have as much driving sequences as you would think and when they do come they are either drawn out or not long enough. Then there is the first act, which is great, but those lingering glances and long silences can be obnoxious at times.
One person commented to me how bad they thought the title was. Yes the title does sound like something Jason Statham would star in but I don’t think it means what you would assume it means. Yes there is driving and yes cars go fast but this is more about the drive of the main character. He is surrounded by people who do what they have to do to get by and some are protecting what they have but the Driver (Ryan Gosling) has a task at hand. He is driven to get the job done and to take out anyone or anything that comes in his way. Drive is the most important thing in getting what you want and as are villains find out, nothing is more dangerous than a driven man.