Drive – Movie Review

Drive is a compelling, yet violent movie about a stunt driver / mechanic / getaway driver who rarely speaks and tells volumes with his eyes. It made its premiere at The Toronto International Film Festival, and opened nationwide yesterday. Ryan Gosling could be in for some Oscar gold come awards season.

When Drive opens the Driver (Ryan Gosling) gives the rundown of his rules. “If I drive for you, you give me a time and a place. I give you a five-minute window, anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours no matter what. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down; I don’t carry a gun… I drive.” He’s a quiet, smart man who is a genius behind the wheel of a car. He works as a mechanic and a part time stunt driver for movies for the unlucky Shannon (Bryan Cranston). He also gets jobs as a wheelman for criminals, something Shannon also sets up for him. He lives next door to Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son, and grows to care for them both. She’s married however to a criminal in prison. When her husband is released he finds himself in trouble with people who protected him in jail. He’s told he needs to rob a pawn shop, and Shannon agrees to drive him to protect Irene and her son. Unfortunately the robbery is a setup by a local crime boss named Nino (Ron Perlman), and before too long the Driver finds himself having to explore a darker side of his personality in order to not only stay alive, but protect the people he cares about.

Drive is a great movie, but it’s overshadowed by the incredible performance by Ryan Gosling. You find yourself wanting to know what he’s going to do next, more than what happens next in the plot. It’s hard to describe why this is so without giving away too much, but needless to say everyone has heard the saying about being leery of the quiet man. He’s clearly a psychopath because he never blinks an eye at what he’s doing, and yet he obviously cares for the people he’s trying to protect. The way people react to the situations they find themselves in makes sense as well. Too many times movies sensationalize things, and you can’t help but think ‘that would never happen’, but in this case every move made feels right. Danish Director Nicholas Winding Refn obviously likes the scarred, silent protagonists, because his last movie Valhalla Rising was much of the same, just set in a different time period.

If you are looking for something to see this weekend you can’t go wrong with Drive. But be warned, it is bloody, and it is violent. It doesn’t start out that way, but it quickly gets there.

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