Drive revels in sensory detail; it's a visually and aurally edgy Euro-influenced American genre movie about the coolness of noir-influenced American genre movies about the coolness of driving - especially in L.A.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
"Drive" is somber, slick and earnest, and also a prisoner of its own emptiness, substituting moods for emotions and borrowed style for real audacity.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
The look is artfully stylized, influenced by classic film noir; the mood is dark; the performances nuanced; and the story unnervingly exciting.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn neatly manage the hat trick of paying homage to those wheelmen of yore while reinvigorating the genre with style, smarts and flashes of wit.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
Sometimes a movie knows you're watching it. It knows how to hold and keep you, how, when it's over, to make you want it all over again.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
The film... has a kind of daredevil control, swerving dangerously close to and abruptly away from self-parody.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
For all the movement in Drive, the quiet, deathly still moments are the ones that count.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
[Gosling] and this powerful film, which is ultimately about a moment of grace, deserve each other. He's the medium's most graceful minimalist.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
The first half of Drive unfolds like a romantic reverie.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
In reworking genres without quoting shamelessly, Refn proves himself his own man and a guy quite capable of taking us places we didn't even know we wanted to go.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
...Two-thirds' worth of a pretty good to quite good action picture and one-third worth of affected, highfalutin, practically insufferably portentous, pretentious malarkey.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
In grabbing our attention, [Refn] diverts it from what matters. The horror lingers and seeps; the feelings are sponged away.
Anthony Lane - New Yorker
Here is still another illustration of the old Hollywood noir principle that a movie lives its life not through its hero, but within its shadows.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Before long, and then with grinding relish, "Drive" becomes one garishly sadistic set piece after another.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Though it easily surpasses most American action flicks, it suffers from the old commercial imperative of making the protagonist a nice guy, something Refn has seldom bothered with in Europe.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
A shamelessly entertaining genre movie from director Nicolas Winding Refn that plays like an exalted episode of Miami Vice or a stealth version of Shane.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Drama requires emotions and cool requires their suppression. The tautly paced, peerlessly stylish crime drama "Drive" has it both ways.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Drive is pedal-to-the-metal stuff. Don't get behind the wheel unless you can take the rush.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Think of "Drive" as the cinematic equivalent of riding in a car that projects a fashionably stylish image. Sure, the gas mileage may be terrible and the engine unreliable, but it's such a smooth, good-looking ride that you'll put up with the annoyances.
Randy Cordova - Arizona Republic
Drive takes the tired heist-gone-bad genre out for a spin, delivering fresh guilty-pleasure thrills in the process.
Peter Debruge - Variety
It's fun, but the script, credited to Hossein Amini ("The Wings of the Dove"), is short on characterization and long on plot twists and wisecracks.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Pulsating...very cool. Could have used a little more "driving," though.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Anyone watching Drive won't be able to take their eyes off Gosling. Playing a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman for criminals, he rocks like a young Steve McQueen or Robert De Niro.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
The pace of this film is a beautiful thing to behold, as Drive is a patient but taut thriller.
Laremy Legel - Film.com
This is no antic-frantic affair; instead, it's a cerebral game of stop-and-go, hide-and-seek, as the director behind the camera handles things exactly like the guy behind the wheel - with a stylish mixture of cold calculation and cool aplomb.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
Tense car chases, action scenes handled with crisp panache and Canadian actor Ryan Gosling channelling Steve McQueen as an existential wheel man add up to make Drive one of the best arty-action films since Steven Soderbergh's The Limey.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
"Drive" builds extraordinary tension before exploding in brief outbursts of shocking violence, almost in the mode of a samurai film.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Enters the viewer like a sharp unseen blade.
Dana Stevens - Slate
Perhaps Drive is an action movie for those who don't ordinarily like action movies. It's also an action movie for those who crave them like a drug.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Tasty, if sketchy, modern noir with car chases and bloody action that should turn the trick for genre-seeking audiences.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
Gosling's masculine, minimalist approach makes him mysteriously compelling. Yes, there's the fact that he's gorgeous. But he also does so much with just a subtle glance, by just holding a moment a beat or two longer than you might expect.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
To invest oneself emotionally in the central relationship, or the movie itself, would be akin to investing oneself emotionally in one's car. But when the car looks this good and drives this fast, why not?
Jessica Winter - TIME Magazine
Buckle up for the existential bloodbath of Drive, a brilliant piece of business that races on a B-movie track until it switches to the dizzying fuel of undiluted creativity.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
It's a film in love with both traditional noir mythology and ultra-modern violence, a combination that is not ideal.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
It's understandable that the hipster critical mob would put its stamp of approval on this one.
Martin Tsai - Critic's Notebook
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
I'll never forget the first time I saw Drive. I've since never been able to replicate the experience.
What it had going for it was an uncanny and moving relationship between Gosling and Mulligan.
David Thomson - The New Republic
This is pop art of the highest degree.
Will Leitch - Deadspin
Hands down the coolest film of 2011, Drive is a stylised genre film where the genre is constantly changing.
Tom Glasson - Concrete Playground
Something under the hood of Drive captured my heart; director Nicolas Winding Refn has admirably crafted a fine piece of retro-noir cinema.
Chase Whale - Gordon and the Whale
Neither overblown action movie or intimate character study, Drive is somewhere in between - my approximation of "an arthouse Fast & Furious" wasn't too wide of the mark after all.
Ali Gray - TheShiznit.co.uk
Nicolas Winding Refn's atmosperic direction, Gosling's sheer presence and a soundtrack that's perfection make Drive a fantastic film.
Kristal Cooper - We Got This Covered
With a titanic infusion of pound-feet of torque, Drive is the best movie of 2011, a raging race that's part F1 and equal part demolition derby.
- Sight and Sound
If Sofia Coppola were a dude making genre action movies to impress Quentin Tarantino ... those movies would be a lot like this.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Filmwell
Drive is surprising in many ways, from its quietly spoken first act through its increasingly violent and unexpected trajectory.
Matt Neal - The Standard
It's a slow-burn romantic fairy tale that suddenly turns dark and very violent, but director Nicholas Winding Refn is a master at developing suspense and menace, and every frame of this movie is dripping with both.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
A classic tale of revenge, love and madness is given a refreshing polish and shine by director Nicolas Winding Refn. Drive is one of the year's very best.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
Nicholas Winding Refn's 'neon-noir' heist film Drive winds the speedo back 25 years to honour the spirit of 80s action films, but this fable about fast cars and mob violence isn't afraid to show its feminine side.
Fiona Williams - sbs.com.au
... celebrates -- one might say revels in -- the pulp mythology of existential anti-heroes and criminal chivalry and street opera tragedy of American movies.
Sean Axmaker - MSN.com
Delivers the thrilling action goods with craft and distinctive style.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
Young directors would do well to take a cue or two from Refn when it comes to telling an engrossing story, because when a filmmaker with real vision is at the wheel, even the familiar can feel fresh, new, and exciting.
Jason Buchanan - TV Guide's Movie Guide
The real star of this film is the direction of cult Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, making his Hollywood debut.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky - Ebert Presents At The Movies
"Drive" is not the "Fast and Furious" knockoff you might think it is based on the advertising. It is far more artistic and thoughtful than any of those films could ever hope to be. Consider it a thinking man's action movie.
Greg Maki - Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Action and smarts don't necessarily go hand-in-hand. But director Nicolas Winding Refn ('Bronson') deftly blends them in 'Drive,' a phenomenally entertaining movie that employs a haunting soundtrack, clever direction and entertaining characters.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
A firecracker up the backside of the bloated modern action movie...
Dominic Corry - Flicks.co.nz
Drive's most striking movie reference might be the one where you're watching Irene watch the Driver enact an especially awful beat-down. It's a moment that's at once frightening, tragic, and not startling enough.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
It's a film that has its finger on the pulse of what's current and in style, and one that has solidified its place as the coolest film of the year.
Stephen Lambrechts - IGN Movies AU
That rare film that can shock both with its uncommonly cool style and chillingly raw substance.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
This isn't a movie about action, it's a movie about fate, coincidence, and penance before the clock runs out.
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
A deliberately paced hybrid of high and low art, one that burns ice-cold with meticulous steadicam shots and hypnotic slow-motion, effortless coolness and stylish intelligence.
Tom Clift - Moviedex
Drive works if you succumb to its broad brush strokes of emotion, the plot propelled by vague ambition and greed, the lush cinematography and the dreamy 80s inspired synthesiser soundtrack.
Jason Di Rosso - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
One of this year's most original, entertaining and frankly shocking American movies.
Erin Free - FILMINK (Australia)
What Drive is trying to do is very clear, but clear intent doesn't forgive a film that's mostly flat.
William Kostakis - MovieFIX
If you can make it through one viewing, I dare say Drive is a film you're going to want to watch again and again.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
Ultra-violent, ultra-tedious, bargain-basement rip-off of the classic 1978 Walter Hill film The Driver.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
Drive, above all else, reminds us why Gosling has been hailed as the new Sean Penn, or even a 21st-century Brando. He is outstanding.
Ed Gibbs - The Sun Herald
It is ironic how much filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn uses the brakes in pacing this noirish art house thriller
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
A gripping heist thriller with a difference, Drive relies on subtleties, surprises and shocks as it keeps the audience engrossed
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
A laboratory distillation, but a fairly ravishing one
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
While you could lean back and nod along to Refn's posturing, the film plays more like an exercise in turn-of-the-Eighties nostalgia, a movie-length strong-silent swagger inspired by the art on a VHS box.
Nicolas Rapold - Film Comment Magazine
That rarity of rarities, an arty actioner that requires almost no excuses.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Refn's style is to draw out scenes to make a slow film punctuated with strong violence.
Mark R. Leeper - Mark Leeper's Reviews
The film treats the audience with intelligence; it doesn't lay everything out and instead leaves you to do a little legwork too.
Sam Bathe - Fan The Fire
Terrific, pulpy stuff.
Damon Wise - Uncut Magazine [UK]
...the film's irresistibly stylish atmosphere [compensates] for its general lack of context and substance.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Punctuates its long stretches of cool, carefully calculated menace with splattery spasms of shocking violence.
Neil Pond - American Profile
full review at Movies for the Masses
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
A more or less conventional Los Angeles-set hot-rod/getaway-driver movie with neo-noir decoration -- albeit satisfying enough on its own terms.
Wally Hammond - Sight and Sound
One for fans of Taxi Driver and TV's Dexter, Drive is a film whose considerable style at first obscures just how much it'll get under your skin and stay there for weeks to come.
From its opening shots, Refn's movie is as cool and controlled as its protagonist... at once unhurriedly stylish and intensely gripping. You'd like to lean back and admire, but the action keeps pulling you to the edge of your seat.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
High-octane excitement for the art-house set ... Think 'Two-Lane Blacktop' meets Kubrick's 'The Killing' meets Bresson ... Gosling's King of Cool may be the new McQueen.
Glenn Lovell - CinemaDope
Like the novels of Raymond Chandler and the paintings of David Hockney, Drive is both an accurate view of southern California's intoxicating sleaze and glamour and the filtering of it through a European sensibility.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
A film that moves relentlessly forward, carrying you along so completely that it's only afterwards, if at all, that you begin to wonder about origins and plausibilities.
David Sexton - This is London
In proving that less is more, Rifn has sent out a message to Hollywood in this age of austerity.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
Like watching rats fight in a gorgeously lit bucket, this is compellingly nasty, but for those with stomach for it, Drive is a lot of fun.
Adam Smith - Radio Times
An artful, impressively made film, and one sure to excite cinephiles, everyday adrenaline junkies, and fans of stylized car chases set to an indie synthpop soundtrack.
Brett McCracken - Christianity Today
An unusually upscale, and surprisingly satisfying, action film.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
The tension is agonising... then rubber burns, the engine revs and we hold on tight. For the next 90 minutes, we don't let go.
Catherine Jones - Liverpool Echo
Hold on tight and prepare for the ride of your life.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Gosling exudes Steve McQueen-esque cool but there's not enough going on under the bonnets of these characters to justify the laboured, pretentious execution.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Drive is a movie with power but is still directionless; the acceleration is great, but the steering needs looking at.
Stylishly directed and superbly written, this is an achingly cool, pulse-pounding thriller with a terrific central performance from Ryan Gosling. Great soundtrack too.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Winding Refn steals with such intelligence and thoughtfulness that there is a boldness and creativity to the film even though hardly a single moment of it is "original" in any way.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Gosling gives a laconic, sexy, quietly charming performance evocative of Steve McQueen, as a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Weighted with steely silences and sudden explosions of graphic violence, Drive confronts and dismantles our expectations with a hardened confidence that is all too rare in contemporary Hollywood filmmaking
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
A juggernaut of emotion that tentatively and unknowingly builds up speed then knocks you for six with some uncompromising and ultra-violent scenes.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
Drive is a masterpiece of surface over depth. Catnip for anyone who thinks cinema is for the eye rather than the brain or heart.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
Even when the screen goes berserk - a face splintering under a stamping heel, a master-crook attacking a defenceless colleague's features with a knife and fork - director Refn doesn't blink or expect us to.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
By no means perfect, although it's hard to process the flaws while your insides are singing and you can't catch your breath.
Matt Bochenski - Little White Lies
One of the year's best.
Bob Grimm - Tucson Weekly
...a wonderfully made movie, with terrific performances enhanced by tension-filled music, unfortunately marred by prolific unnecessary, eye-averting, graphic violence.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
It's not too cool to use a girlie font in the opening credits, or to let us feel the hero's nerves as he audibly adjusts his leather driving gloves.
Margot Harrison - Seven Days
One of the best films of the year.
Rob Daniel - Sky Movies
Expertly directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, nothing seems wasted. Every scene is lean and to the point.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
It takes a while for the carburetor-noir thriller Drive to get revved up. But when its enigmatic hero slams his foot on the gas pedal (and a bad guy's face), this movie barrels into a space that modern action movies have long abandoned.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
Sure, it's shallow, but it's also slickly compelling, beautifully crafted and so damn shiny.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
It's rare to feel such a unique tone with such an ordinary idea. Gosling, Brooks and 'A Real Hero' all shine in this great film.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
A brilliant work of art that's bold, daring and unpredictable.
Scott A. Mantz - Access Hollywood
Remember Drive Angry...? (I hope you don't.) This is not that movie... This is Drive Calm. This is Drive Cool.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Stylish to the point of insanity, Refn's film somehow manages the whole '80s neo-noir' thing without being even slightly irritating.
Charlie Lyne - Ultra Culture
Oh alright, it ain't Shane. But it is about as much shamelessly disreputable, stylish, ultra-violent fun you're going to have at the movies this year.
Adam Smith - Empire Magazine
It is the autumn's first golden boy after a summer of lightweight superhero fare, but is truly no richer in thought or spirit than the shallowest comic-book flick.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
The talented Danish filmmaker revs up the action sequences and violence and outdoes the Americans in their specialty of sleazy pulp fiction.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Refn accomplishes the near impossible in modern movies: combining uncompromising art-house style with the real potential for mass-market accessibility, in a pitch-perfect blend of pulp narrative and pure cinema.
Ian Buckwalter - DCist
Provided you have a strong stomach for gore, don't miss this novel cinematic treat offering both an adrenaline fix and a compelling love story.
Kam Williams - NewsBlaze
Moody and mystical at the start, this movie explodes with violence which shakes its audience to the core.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
I think it was a master acting class, honestly...the violence was amazing. It's not going to be for everyone but it's definitely worth seeing!
Jenna Busch - Think Hero
Refn's film is by no means a remake of Hill's The Driver but it's a definite kindred soul. Refn is like a jazz artist riffing on a colleague's composition and delivering a product that still manages to be totally his own.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
Fascinating cinematography and a riveting performance by Ryan Gosling elevate 'Drive' above many other heist-gone-wrong movies.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Winner of the Best Director prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, "Drive" is a stylish film that doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a thriller? A romance? A heist film? All of the above? To be honest, I really don't know
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
A unique blend of classical tropes and modern filmmaking.
Matt Singer - IFC.com
so possessed by the motion in its pictures --even its frozen tableaus are alive with the threat of movement -- it immediately joins the pantheon of Cinema's Coolest Movies
Nathaniel Rogers - Film Experience
My hands are a little dirty, too.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
The entire supporting roster is strong, although Albert Brooks deserves his own standing ovation. The nebbish from Broadcast News and Lost in America has been reconfigured as a slow-burning sadist, and it's a sight to chill the spine.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Atmospheric, refreshingly intelligent and suspenseful with a well-nuanced performance by Ryan Gosling. It's one of the most invigorating thrillers of the year because it offers both style and substance.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
An artsy, self-conscious, existentialist stillness reigns - or, more accurately, tedium. Hyper-stylish, it idles in, then stalls out.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Ends up taking the overly familiar and manages to send it down a road that ends up feeling new and unexplored. (Parental Movie Review also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
Moody, atmospheric and filled with twists.
It is beyond being cool. It is ice cold.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
But while major elements of the core setup are common and generic the resulting film is anything but... Drive is pure genius in a white satin jacket.
Rob Hunter - Film School Rejects
Based on the James Sallis novel, this lean, stylish thriller is confidently assembled to pull us into an outrageous series of events.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
A delectable mix of brooding arthouse and heist-gone-to-hell genre picture.
- Austin Chronicle
Nicolas Winding Refn's pulse pounding film, 'Drive,' is met with stunning adoration. If you walked out of a theater and someone asked, "How was the film?", the word "cool" would take on a new meaning!
Wilson Morales - BlackFilm.com
The end result just emanates coolness. If Drive was a high school student, it would hang out with the popular kids, date the prom queen and have a permanent seat in detention.
Adam Tobias - Watertown Daily Times
At times it is thrilling, while at other moments it is maddening. One thing, though, "Drive" is never dull.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
A 'Bullitt' for a new generation, this is the film that will make a star out of Ryan Gosling for a conspicuously Steve McQueen-like turn as a young Los Angeles stunt car driver who moonlights as a 'wheelman' for thieves.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
An enthralling piece of filmmaking in the same class as Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," and Oscar-worthy acting that firmly places Gosling in the role of top-tier star.
Alison Gang - San Diego Union-Tribune
...delivers enough action, suspense, and revenge to satisfy the multiplex masses while introducing them to the bleak, unsettling stillness and deconstructive black humor of Refn's overseas instincts.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
A stylish genre exercise...one might just as well say the L.A. story unfolds at the corner of Michael Mann and David Lynch.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
The first fifteen minutes of Drive may be the best movie I've seen this year.
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
Some viewers will find the entire film pretentious to the extreme. And that view is completely fair. In fact, it may even be intended.
Jonathan W. Hickman - Daily Film Fix
A modern day masterpiece. I wish I could go back and watch it for the first time all over again.
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
Refn has made a movie where the main characters barely speak and take themselves so seriously, that a little levity, at times, might have helped.
Neil Rosen - NY1-TV
- National Post
The story is nothing terribly new, but it's presented in a fantastic way, making it one of the most smartly directed movies I've seen this year.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
It's great: a minimalist, '80s-inspired Los-Angeles-loner-by-night dream of stoplights, headlights, moonlight, window glare, satin jackets and extremely cool knives.
Dave White - Movies.com
It's probably not the film that the trailer would lead you to believe that it is. I think it tries to be more than that and I don't think it makes it.
Widgett Walls - Needcoffee.com
Ryan Gosling is everywhere these days, and I couldn't be happier.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
A potentially silly movie that wins its legitimacy through sheer force of confident, mellow attitude. And Gosling is simply great.
There were moments in 'Drive' that wrapped me up more fully than any movie I've seen in perhaps two or three years.
Matt Soergel - Florida Times-Union
A hypnotic and mesmerizing mash-up of Friedkin, Mann and Lynch. In case there were any remaining doubts, after having danced around and avoided it for several years, Ryan Gosling is now taking the bullet train to stardom.
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
Drive is a brilliant piece of filmmaking, one of the very best of the year.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
A thin plot is outweighed by a masterful visual style, a dream cast and some truly great cinematic moments.
Stephen Silver - The Trend
Drive is quite simply the best film that Michael Mann never made in the period where Thief, Manhunter and the scores of Giorgio Moroder and Tangerine Dream secreted off the screen and into our veins.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
I did not care for the slow pace or the finalization of "Drive" but with Gosling's solid performance and scenes that reminisce of "The Departed" it is worth a quick viewing if you can stand the blood & guts.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
For stone-cold, retro action fans who are tired of all these over-edited, underachieving thrillers - well, here's one car chase movie that isn't running on empty.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
You've seen this movie before, but you've never seen it like this.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
Feels like some 1980's movie you'd find on cable TV after midnight, but director Nicholas Winding Refn knows how to class it up.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
A daring work. More than once, I got little chills running up my spine from the audaciousness with which director Nicolas Winding Refn tells the tale.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Refn seems to be in control of every detail, starting with the niftily retro, hot-pink opening credits.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
For me, Drive is all attitude, punctuated by unpleasant bursts of violence. If that's what passes for cutting-edge filmmaking, or storytelling, we're in trouble.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Every individual element of Drive is familiar, but the combination is uniquely intoxicating
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
With style and rubber to burn, this is a candidate for best movie of the year, even when it becomes too pleased with its own remorseless coolness -- with the action-painting blossoms of blood and the acousticophiliac squish of heel to face...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
A triumph of mood and atmosphere, a film that leaves you in a sad, thoughtful reverie.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
The extreme and escalating violence will prove off-putting to some-frankly, I'm surprised not to have been among them-but for the rest, Drive is a needle-punch of adrenaline to the aorta.
Christopher Orr - The Atlantic
A movie with the title Drive should not be left in 'park.'
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
While low-budget and uncompromising, Drive is energized by Refn's muscular direction. It kicks Bullitt-like butt even while it explores each character with a thoughtful eye, and allows us to understand each player in the street theatre that unfolds.
Bruce Kirkland - Jam! Movies
A sublime piece of genre work.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
It's refreshing to have a thriller that respects its audience's intelligence and rewards it with a theatrical experience that will stay with you for a long time.
Pete Vonder Haar - Houston Press
As the film accrues intensity and awakes the demon lurking inside its protagonist, you can see it as something more than a retro-cool crime story. Rather, it's a parable of good and evil and the nature of man.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Mainstream audiences will probably be confounded by "Drive," while lovers of gritty filmmaking will defend every exaggerated shotgun wound as art. Know which camp you're in before you enter the theater.
Peter Hartlaub - San Francisco Chronicle
Winding Refn shakes off the theatricality of his last film, Bronson, for a more intimate approach, and his actors are right there with him.
Norman Wilner - NOW Toronto
It's apparent from the opening credits that Drive is all about the unexpected.
Shannon Hood - Kansas City Star
I can't remember the last time I felt so seduced by a film.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
A throwback, but one with a stylish new spin...alternately solemn and explosive, it's a wild ride, though like any such enterprise more notable for excitement than emotional involvement.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Excitingly ambitious. And whenever an untoward lull might seem to impend, Refn knows just when to hit the gas.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
"Drive" is a fine and stylish, if ultraviolent, ride, filled with unexpectedly askew camera angles, nighttime lighting worthy of Raymond Chandler, and nuanced performances.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Slo-mo and the literal lyrical commentary from soundtrack selections wouldn't work in hands less sure than these, but Refn has created some kind of romantic macho masterpiece with "Drive"...
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
If deception is indeed an artform, then Drive is its Mona Lisa
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
A gripping crime thriller, aching romance and compelling character study made in an indelibly hypnotic style
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
There's a sleek, pulse-pounding, heart-racing machine in Drive, but it's buried deeply under an oppressive package of optional extras. For all of its good ideas -- and there are plenty of them -- the film eventually buckles under an excess of style.
"Drive" is being advertised as a fast, furious movie featuring flipped cars and exploding heads, but be forewarned - it's about 10 times more deliberate than your average Hollywood actioner.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
As taut a film as you're likely to see in theaters this year. And it easily leaves other street-racing movies of its kind in the dust, even classics like "Vantage Point" and "Two-Lane Blacktop."
Graham Killeen - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
All right, first: everybody calm down. Drive is good, it's very good...but for me it lacks the emotional heft to elevate it from "gem" to "masterpiece."
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
Gosling delivers a powerful performance in one of the most mesmerizing, unforgettable, and unique films of 2011.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
Refn favors long, quiet takes followed by intense, often horrifying outbursts; the movie has the same personality as the driver himself.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Something new and thrumming with life, a movie about detachment that has an intoxicating staying power.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
The abrupt shifts between neo-noir fatalism and white-knight romanticism could give an unsuspecting viewer whiplash, but Refn has a trusty map and keeps his hands on the wheel.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Dangerously cool ... Style and acting this dazzling give a human pulse to the most savage behavior.
Matt Pais - RedEye
Drive is long on mood and sleek visuals, and the narrative seems merely a slender frame upon which to hang the director's highly stylized dressings. It's a tone poem set against the backdrop of a fairly standard crime-heist-gone-awry frame.
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
These are not merely pulsing, pulpy action sequences; they are also illustrative extensions of a vibrant character study.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
This genre film does what it does so well, and with such impressive directorial finesse, you won't mind stepping into the criminal muck and covering yourself in the blood and filth of some ice-cold thieves.
Sean O'Connell - Hollywood News
It is a volatile situation, and Refn plays that off the minimalist storyline, stripped-down dialog, retro electronic soundtrack, and cool compositions.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
At a time when action films routinely pass off freneticness as excitement, Drive is a reminder of how powerful the genre can be when every shot and every line of dialogue has a purpose, deployed for maximum impact.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
In a year of near-perpetual ennui at the multiplex, "Drive," at long last, is a real, true, passionate motion picture to replenish a doubting cinema lover's soul.
What ultimately makes Drive so compelling is its characters - sketches given dimension and heft by a superb cast.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
It's fascinating how the simple act of eliminating a lead character's back story can make a movie 100 percent better, at least in this case.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
An amazing thriller, a modern examination of heroism filtered through the fairy tale culture of the underbelly of the movie machine that is easily one of the most memorable and effective films of not just this year but the last several.
Brian Tallerico - The Deadbolt
The film can afford such narrative economy in part because Gosling is so effective, needing little in the way of words to convey the complexity of his character.
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
A beautifully dressed diet plate that nonetheless requires a man-sized proviso: That's still the brilliant Gosling onscreen, and that alone probably merits your money.
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
The most impressive performance here though comes from Albert Brooks who plays the deceptively friendly gangster and I will predict that he will get his first Oscar nomination (and possible win) in over twenty years.
Danny Minton - Fort Bend Sun
An ideal role for Gosling, who's always better seen than heard, contributing a near-wordless performance of pure style and stare, posed carefully while Refn fans the Steve McQueen flames...A sensational picture.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's coolly beautiful action thriller looks like a slick, Hollywood thrill ride, but it's actually a bleakly funny deconstruction of genre movie cliches that will delight some viewers and infuriate others.
Maitland McDonagh - Film Journal International
Gosling's amazing, subtle performance - body language, a glance of his eyes - turns this psychologically charged action movie into more than a genre piece.
Caryn James - James on screenS
Drive feels like some kind of masterpiece -- it's as pure a version of the essentials as you're likely to see.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
...not the best film of 2011, but when all is said and done it will likely be the most alive.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
It is with the utmost respect I compare Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive to some of the seminal movies of the 1970's...because Drive is as heartpoundingly good as it is slim, stark and hard to shake.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Nicolas Winding Refn's sleek heist flick offers more quiet moments than you'd expect with a title like Drive. And some that aren't so quiet.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
An action crime movie that's as cerebral and surreal as it is red-blooded.
Jamie Graham - Total Film
Ryan Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn take the great American crime movie for a spin and make it their own in the stylish and thrilling Drive.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
A strange mix of outrageous action and surprising stillness. It's like a cross between The American and Reservoir Dogs
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
One of the first truly must-see movies of the year -- a seemingly incompatible blend of art-house drama and Hollywood revenge thriller that somehow works.
Jason Zingale - Bullz-Eye.com
Driving, one would think, would be a key element of a movie called "Drive," but the title is more a metaphor than a physical aspect of the film.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Drive is a guy's movie that runs circles around most of the competition but things get predictable and the film downshifts to neutral as if it has nowhere to go and ain't in much of a hurry to get there.
Radheyan Simonpillai - AskMen.com
[Refn's] stewardship is as precise and magnetic as Gosling's performance.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
Why would Gosling, a fascinatingly cerebral actor, take a role so far inside his comfort zone? Does he long to strike action-icon poses -- to be the new Nic Cage?
What you want to know about Drive is that its three big, action set pieces are impressive and exciting.
Jaime N. Christley - Slant Magazine
This eerie and mystifying neo-noir takes audiences out for a cruise, and to the darkest recesses of fueled fantasy and pathological daydreams. And with a body double protagonist as big screen identity theft con man, profoundly conned by the movies.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
Works not only as entertainment, but also as art. And make no mistake, DRIVE is art.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Gosling combines Zen-like grace with psychotic brutality, unleashing a virtually silent performance as an uber-cool action hero reminiscent of Steve McQueen.
A silent psychopath with a heart of gold.
Victoria Alexander - FilmsInReview.com
There is a dreamy, haunting quality that weaves its way through Drive that is unlike other heist movies. It is a sense of beauty that carefully tucks in the violence and horror that is lurking just around the corner.
JimmyO - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
[VIDEO] Part love story, part black comedy, and part crime thriller "Drive" is a film-lover's dream.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
The best word to describe Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive is 'cool'. Perhaps it's the only word necessary. But, I probably can't get away with a one-word review, so allow me to expand on my feelings.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Drive is a triumph of minimalist cool.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
Drive dynamically merges a terrific film noir plot with a cool retro look, evoking '60s classics like Point Blank and Bullitt.
Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
A takedown in a strip club is so intense, you will not even be gawking at the nude dancers because Gosling's presence is so commanding.
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies
Without doubt the most stylish film in years, Drive plays like the best episodes of Miami Vice.
Kaleem Aftab - Independent
Blending a cocktail of noir and action with a pinch of romance to deliver a violent and hopeful film with enormous appeal.
Katina Vangopoulos - Moviedex
Drive is a stylish mainstream thriller infused with moody Scandinavian spirit.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
At least half a dozen scenes are burned into my memory for life, including not one but two of the most jarring, heartbreaking juxtapositions of tenderness and violence this side of classic Kitano.
Mike D'Angelo - AV Club
One of 2011 best American films: Showing another facet of his considerable talent, Ryan Gosling is compelling as an action star in this noir thriller, which combines elements B-level Hollywood flicks and stylish European art films.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Drive not only met my hopes; it charged way over the speed limit, partly because it's an unapologetically commercial picture that defies all the current trends in mainstream action filmmaking.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
Refn ... is an avid fan of American thrillers and is clearly familiar with most of its cliches. Every one is displayed, in one sequence or another, during the film.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Buckle up; it's quite a ride.