Thursday, May 24, 2012


Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
2011. Rated R, 100 minutes.
Ryan Gosling
Carey Mulligan
Ron Perlman
Bryan Cranston
Albert Brooks
Oscar Isaac
Christina Hendricks
Kaden Leos

The kid or Driver (Gosling), as he’s listed in the credits, is special behind the wheel. His ability has gotten him a few different gigs. He’s a mechanic and part-time Hollywood stunt driver. His boss at the shop acts as his agent and is trying to borrow money from the local gangsters to finance a racecar driving career for his boy. The kid is also a popular and highly effective getaway driver for area riffraff. We get the impression that when he’s not doing any of these jobs he sits in his small one bedroom apartment all alone and stares at the walls. He doesn’t say much. His conversations consist mostly of one word answers to the questions of others. It’s pretty safe to say he’ll never be mistaken for a social butterfly. I imagine it’s kind of hard to meet girls that way.

Ah, but a girl there must be. The kid has a thing for Irene (Mulligan) who lives next door with her son Benecio (Leos). We quickly realize, she has a thing for him, too. They often see each other in the elevator but might never have interacted beyond saying a polite hello if not for her car breaking down. You see, she’s less shy than he, but still not a big talker. He manages to string together enough words to ask her out. She accepts and they sort of become a couple. Even though there are fewer words shared between them than sheepish grins, they understand one another.

Showing such a silent relationship is a tricky proposition. Movies are generally cluttered with noise. It’s what we expect. Here, neither of our lovebirds says much with their mouths. Body language and facial expressions handle the bulk of their communicating. The make a cute couple. The trick that’s turned is making us understand the depth of their feelings for each other. Even this is done without the usual visual panache. They never look longingly into each other’s eyes or go running towards one another and kiss deeply while sweeping music blares from the speakers. Neither tries to chase the other down while the object of their desire is aboard a departing bus or train with tears streaking down their face. There are no love scenes. What they have just is.

Well, it just is until it just isn’t. Rather, it lurks in background when we get a large piece of information. This info that I won’t divulge is the dime the movie turns on. When we get it, we may realize things are about to change. Still, we can’t fathom how it will lead us to the place at which we eventually arrive. Just know that this makes the second half of the picture a graphically violent excursion.

For some, the fact that all the action takes place late will be problematic. They’ll be frustrated by all non-verbal communication and general lack of adrenaline during the first part of the movie. The issue will be that these people have likely seen the trailers for Drive and happily hit the play button expecting something more along the lines of a Fast and Furious retread. They will be severely disappointed. The rest of us will be drawn in by the uncommonly quiet half of the film and will delight in the explosion of violence when it comes.


  1. Nice review man!! Btw I just nominated you for a liebster award here

    Drive is one of my favourite movies of all time, and it's great seeing reviews like this and hearing new perspectives.

    1. It's a fantastic film. Thanks for the award, I'll try to get something together pretty quick.