Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman
"Drive" is an artsy, visual look at a stunt-car driver by day and heist driver at night played by Ryan Gosling. Gosling's character is an introverted and quiet soul, who spends most of his time alone. When he befriends Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son, the trio build an almost inseparable bond. But when Irene's husband returns home from his stint in prison, an influx of gangsters and violence threaten the livelihood of Irene's family. Will the driver help Irene escape or will he take a more direct approach to handling these problems?
I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, it is very artsy and powerful. But on the other hand, it seems so slow and overly artsy. I think I see where director Nicolas Refn was taking this film, but I think he really just shoves the genre down our throats. This might work in some cases, but it doesn't work in the case of "Drive."
I have a feeling that this was supposed to be Gosling's breakout role as an action star. He was surely up to the task, but I do not know if the film really used Gosling to his full potential. The guy has some serious acting chops and even though his lines are few and far between, his screen presence and delivery is very good. Gosling has a bright career ahead of him. I like the supporting roles of Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman and most especially Oscar Isaac. Many of the films characters are static, but they are so developed that many of them remain memorable.
At 100 minutes in total length, "Drive" isn't that long of a film. However, if there is one thing I do not like about the film, it is the pacing. Sometimes, it is ok for a film to have shots swap between two people staring at each other and not saying anything -- but it is not ok if 50% of your movie is this. Especially if such action fails to reveal anything about the characters involved. I found myself tapping my feet on the floor too often waiting for something of relevance to happen. Maybe some people enjoy that leisure and the delay and anticipation as we approach an assuredly violent ending sequence -- personally, I don't.
It certainly is a good movie, but I wouldn't consider "Drive" to be the best movie of the year, nor in the top 5.