Apr 25, 2012

Film Review: Drive

An unnamed character (when was the last time you watched a movie with one of those? [Ryan Gosling]) holds three jobs ranging from mundane to crazy: mechanic, movie stuntman, and getaway driver. The Driver is a man of few words and revels in awkward silence. He forms a bond with his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son, Benicio. Outside of this relationship, he only has his his boss/friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston) who owns the garage, was a former stuntman, and assigns the Driver his getaway missions. The already crazy life of the Driver gets even more crazy when the mob starts sticking their nose into his business and messing with those close to him.

The Driver is known for two physical traits - a toothpick, and his white Scorpion jacket. The toothpick serves it's purpose and makes Ryan Gosling look cool, but everytime I see the jacket I think it's too over the top and outlandish to be believable. Who would wear that? It also bothers me that I can't figure out if they were trying to write The Driver as a sociopath. Many of the scenes feel very much like hit Showtime series, Dexter. This sociopath characteristic stands out to me because all through the movie I find it brimming with talented actors. Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks do wonders when on-screen, but Ryan Gosling's character only has two facial expressions: smiling, or not smiling. And he only has two tones of voice: soft-spoken, or not talking. So I can't judge his acting ability outside of his body language, which I guess was good enough for what it needed to be.

My Highlights:
The Driver watching cartoons with Benicio, Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks' interactions, and the getaway from the pawn shop.

Overall Rating:
Drive was a great movie, but not without it's flaws. It's one of the best movies of 2011, but given what an abysmal year it was for cinema, it's not that big of a compliment. Characters are unfleshed out, directing risks don't always meet rewards, and the first half of the movie takes time to build steam because there's no real conflict. All in all, I'd say it's a beautifully done grindhouse movie. Gory, over the top, and fun, but not a masterpiece.

4 / 5

When You Should See It:
If you're looking for a new film to rent or can find cheap On Demand or on Amazon Instant Video, it's worth the money. It's just not something to run out and buy unseen, or put ahead of films you've been dying to see because of the hype surrounding it. See it, but don't kill yourself trying to see it.

image from Amazon

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