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Review: Drive

Published: Thursday, September 15, 2011

Updated: Friday, September 16, 2011 11:09

Drive review, Ryan Gosling

Richard Foreman, FilmDistrict, Bold Films, OddLot Entertainment

Ryan Gosling stars in "Drive."


Staring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Rated R

Grade: A


"Drive" is not your typical action movie, and it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

Sporting a shiny Members Only-style jacket, Ryan Gosling plays the unassuming leading man. He's a quiet guy who is actually never named. He is known only as "the driver" as he wanders around Los Angeles, living a double life.

Gosling's character is a nobody. Not only does he not have a name, but he's missing a back story, a family and a purpose in life. During the day, he earns a living as a stunt driver for Hollywood films. At night, the driver aids criminals as a getaway driver extraordinaire with the help of Shannon, his business partner of sorts, played by Bryan Cranston.

The driver doesn't say much. Thankfully, the intensity in his face is all that is needed to push the plot forward.  He effortlessly drives classic cars such as a 1973 Chevy Malibu, but also evades police in a Chevy Impala.

The unassuming leading lady is his neighbor, Irene, played by Carey Mulligan. She does her best to make ends meet with her young son, Benicio, while her husband is in jail. She meets the driver and the two go out on quaint dates, exchange quiet stares and silent longing; the driver quickly becomes attached to her and her son.

When Irene's husband is released from jail, the driver finds that his prison debts have followed him home and are endangering Irene and Benicio. The driver is fueled by the affection he has for them, and offers his services to help settle the debt. What follows is a very tense, very messy heist.

The soundtrack is playful ‘80s pop music, which suits the action perfectly, but the film certainly earns its R rating. There is steep violence that cuts through the slow moving drama and jolts the audience. Gosling's sweet face turns psychotic at times and his stoic demeanor cracks.

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn managed to make a quiet film loud, and really showcases the actors' talent, first and foremost.

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