My Review of ‘Drive’ (2011)

This movie shoots straight out of the gate into the story about a nameless stunt driver (played stoically by Ryan Gosling), who moonlights as a getaway driver. In superb “show, don’t tell” fashion, we see (Nameless) Driver give brief instructions to his “clients” by burner phone, then engage in a heist that goes a bit sideways. But he walks away clean.

Well, sorta. It’s a minor problem that comes back to haunt him later, but is quickly resolved because Driver is such a bad ass. Or at least seems to be. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

And that’s just the first ten minutes of film. It’s not even the hard part.

Driver, who comes off as quite the existential loner, softens a bit when he meets cute neighbor, Irene (played by Carey Mulligan) and her adorable son, Benicio. Driver even grows fond of her and the kid, and there’s a smoldering sexual subtext that never quite rises to consummation.

Such a shame Irene is married to a convict who eventually comes home from the joint. Said convict, Standard (yes, that’s his name) (and he’s played by Oscar Isaac) also unfortunately owes money to a gangster, who demands he rob a pawnshop to pay off his debt. Naturally, being soft on Irene, Driver offers his services as wheelman.

Now, this is when things go south. Unfortunately.

I’ll say no more about the plot, because that would be telling. I will say that the acting in this movie is superb. Driver is not unlike the neo-noir version of the nameless stranger in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns. He reflects both the freedom of an existential loner, as well as the price he pays for his failure or inability to form lasting connections with others. Gosling plays the role so restrained that when he does lash out, the contrast is striking.

Bryan Cranston is awesome as the auto shop owner who Driver works for as a mechanic (and who also provides the vehicles for Driver’s exploits). Ron Perlman plays a guy named Nino, who acts like a guy named Nino would. And Albert Brooks is his Jewish partner, who acts like I’ve never seen Albert Brooks act. Ever.

This movie was based on the James Sallis novel of the same name. Screenwriter Hossein Amini did a bang-up job of adapting a novel with a nonlinear narrative into the story you see on the screen. Be advised the movie is not for the faint of heart in the violence department. But that violence is not gratuitous, but deftly underscores the precarious nature of Driver’s existence.

Featuring heart-gripping chase scenes and haunting neo-noir cinematography, Drive manages to be both incredibly violent and incredibly moving. No pun intended! It also has an unforgettable ending.

An amazing film and a must-see for all neo-noir enthusiasts! Just be advised. There will be blood!

This entry was posted in Crime Movies, Heist Film, Movie Reviews, Neo-Noir and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to My Review of ‘Drive’ (2011)

  1. Michael Eddy says:

    Agree with everything you said. Loved this movie. Only thing you left out by way of praise was that really cool jacket he wears. Hand stitched dragon? I’ve been wanting one of those ever since.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mr. Bobinsky says:

    Awesome movie. It’s incredible that somebody wanted to sue its distribution company for cheating of making a fast-paced trailer with a movie itself not being Fast & Furious…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debbi says:

      It is a fantastic film! Ryan Gosling rocks the part. Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman. All brilliant.

      I had no idea about the trailer. Fast & Furious? Huh? Not that genre, you know? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr. Bobinsky says:

    Exactly! Christina Hendricks’ short appearance was weird, but good, and ended very efficiently.

    I watched it for the first time in 2011, and at that time paid attention only to Gosling, Mulligan and Perlman. The other part of the cast was brilliant too, but I didn’t bother to check the names. So I was really surprised to learn that the main guy of Ex Machina and Standard Gabriel were played by the same man – Oscar Isaac. Brilliant. Very talented guy who seems to get big roles after Inside Llewyn Davis (did you see it?).

    P. S. I learnt about the lawsuit story here… it’s very interesting indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Debbi says:

      I have seen Llewyn Davis! Enjoyed it. It’s been a while, but I recall liking it.

      It didn’t leave as much of an impression as some of the Coens’ other films, but I’d watch it again. 🙂 If only for the cat!

      Thanks for the link!

      Liked by 1 person

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