After you'll finish watching Drive you'll know you just watched something special, something rarely seen on the big screen. Drive takes all the classic elements of passionate filmmaking and revives them with a new modern look, sound and atmosphere that will keep you excited like a little kid on the edge of your seat. Audience's reaction to this is diverse. Some claim that the movie is too pretentious, some claim that the movie is silly and doesn't have enough action, some claim that the movie hits the cliches right in the chest, some think that it doesn't have any cliches, some think that this is just a good movie or great movie and some call it a masterpiece. To me, Drive symbolizes ambition and dedication in the field of filmmaking and acting. Drive is the most tense and beautiful experience I've lived in the theater in months and probably one of the most original interpretations of a love story.
Ryan Gosling plays a quite docile stunt driver for movies and one who'll do illegal activities in his free time. We get to see from the very first moments that he's very calculated, very precise in his work, almost ruthless with his own routine and persona, meticulous and calm in any situation. The tension described in the movie is the kind of atmosphere that made me understand what it is to drive a car in certain conditions. The difference between Drive and other car-movies is that in other films you get to live an outside-of-the-car experience while in Drive you get to experience the inside-of-the-car which to me is much more important. The driver is distant from the social world but sociable at the same time, the kind of guy that stays in silence, hides his feelings and use forced smiles to interact with various people. At one point he meets Irene (Carey Mulligan), a beautiful young married woman with a kid next to her and a husband in jail (Oscar Isaac - Standard). They develop a strong friendship even though both being very cautious and scared to approach each other, him apparently more than her. Thanks to Irene, our hero gets to see the beautiful side of the world, thanks to Irene he gets to live outside of his comfort zone and escape somewhere where he feels he might enjoy that for the rest of his life. Problems occur when Irene's husband returns home and our driver gets acquainted with his problems. From this point on, tragedy seems to make it's way into the movie and jump from a romance story to a revenge story. Because of the tragedy that hits our driver, we get to see another side of him, a more violent and even psychotic state of mind that he goes in once he's in the role of protecting his new formed "family". His controllable love for Irene and the little kid is described in a childish way, reserved and sweet, that being exactly what gives heart to his character. The violence in which he deals with his enemies is the anti-thesis to his childlike persona. A marvelous execution of this character which left me in a state of total tension till the end of the film. The denouement of all this kinda left me speechless because I was expecting something else but Refn took a different path and I'm not really sure if it really fitted the story. It was a good turning point but at the end it felt too stable, a too pragmatic choice. Anyway, the suspense, the thrilling atmosphere, the bold love story and the twisted and maniacal revengeful dark side of this character made me love this director and this talented actor even more than I used to.
Ryan Gosling gives a subtle and cynical performance. He's so accurate in his gestures, in his emotions, in his mannerism, a formidable (still) young actor who proves again and again why he should be named as one of the best actors in the business. Carey Mulligan as Irene and Oscar Isaac as Standard were very good but unfortunately overshadowed by their few minutes in the film and Gosling's perfect portrayal. The other roles were handled perfectly, the roles of the two mobsters involved in the craziness that made the driver lose his temper in his seek of revenge, Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose and Ron Pelman as his partner Nino. The most impressive thing for me was the execution of the film, the directing. The beautiful cinematography, the beautiful angles, the beautiful Los Angeles shots, the behind-the-wheel and on-board shots from inside the car, the editing and sound mixing but also the amazing soundtrack from Cliff Martinez and the great songs choice.
Drive is a pure thrilling cinematic adventure, a journey into a childish love story painted with blood and disturbing violence. A seek for revenge and own liberation. A breath of fresh air and originality. A perfectly executed film that can find it's roots in movies like Taxi Driver. This is our modern-day Taxi Driver. A character study driven by the brilliance of Ryan Gosling and a piece of fantastic art-work from Nicolas Winding Refn.
Technical Execution: 9,1/10.
Replay Value: 9/10.