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Car Movie Review: Drive

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On: Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 12:26PM | By: David Walter

Car Movie Review: Drive

The protagonist in Drive (played by Ryan Gosling), whose name is never actually mentioned, rarely speaks or shows his emotions—that is, if he actually has any. Most of his days are spent either on a Hollywood movie set as a stunt driver or in a garage as a mechanic. But at night, he's an expert getaway driver. The Driver's lack of emotion and detachment from any sort of social life are what makes him so great at what he does. He never stays in one place very long and doesn't associate with anyone other than the owner of the garage (Bryan Cranston). Drama ensues when, after moving into a new temporary apartment, he can't help failing for his new neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan)—mother of six-year-old Benicio.

Sound a little cheesy to you? I thought so too. So when I went to go see it last night, I didn't have very high expectations for it.

Turns out I was wrong.

Drive is both highly entertaining and artfully well-done.

On the ride home from the theater (as I resisted nearly every urge to drive like a part-time stunt driver/part-time getaway driver), I was trying to think of all the movie genres Drive reminded me of: 60s/70s car-chasing crime movies (i.e. Bullitt), 80s greaser drama (The Outsiders), Coen brothers-style film noir (No Country For Old Men), gruesome Martin Scorsese mob films (Goodfellas) and the Driver’s “moral code” (for lack of a better word) reminded me of classic samurai films like Le Samourai and Yojimbo. Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Valhalla Rising, Bronson) does a great job of combining all of these elements with an unusual modern-meets-80s electronic/pop soundtrack (that you’ll either love or hate) into a pretty unique movie—sadly an endangered species in these days of lazy remakes and sequels.

Other notable actors include Mad Men’s Christiana Hendricks and Ron Perlman (Hellboy).

Sorry, I went into movie fan mode there for a bit. Fellow car fans will definitely enjoy watching the Driver doing what he does best. Spoiler: the most stand-out moment comes after a heist-gone-bad results in a deadly game of cat and mouse between a Chrysler 300C and our antihero in a freshly stolen Mustang GT.

The movie is rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity.


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