Here's a review of the amazing film Drive, which is a five-star film for me, the second of the year. Hope you enjoy
Drive is a magnificent film. It's rich, poignant, jarring and refreshingly different on almost every level. Ryan Gosling proves here to be a real contender on the acting scene(alongside his role in Crazy, Stupid Love). It's artistic and impactful in equal measure and, well, there's no film like it this year.
Ryan Gosling is the Driver, a stunt-man/mechanic that spends his nights helping criminals escape from their respective crime scenes. However, his life changes when he meets Irene (Carey Mulligan), his next-door neighbor. The usually isolated Driver starts hanging out with Irene and her son, Benicia, and eventually starts to fall in love. When Irene's husband gets out of jail, however, he exits it in great debt and is faced with either paying or losing everything he loves. So Driver decides to step in and help out. However, not everything goes as planned...
Drive is as much a study of raw emotion as it is character. Driver doesn't even possess a name and is for the most part a very quiet and singular character. However, it does in no way cause a loss of personality. Just by looking at Driver's relationship with Irene, it's amazing how pure and realistic it really is. Some might scoff in how they simply establish a relationship through simple glances, but Hossein Amini (the film's writer) understands fully that more can be communicated through eye-to-eye contact than with any words. It's a relationship built on mutual compassion, the will to be there for the sake of it and keep on being there.
It's this unspoken affection that anchors the entire narrative, for the most part. The build-up is masterfully executed, introducing the key players that show their true colors within due time. Drive in fact polarizes itself at a steady pace, being often simultaneously warm and tender; and then cold and detached. This is only more apparent in the latter half where the violence almost explodes off the screen, in complete contrast to the sentimentality of the movie's first moments. Instead of compromising the beauty, however, it amplifies it, makes us miss those golden moments but at the same time understand the motive behind it. A tragic tale befalls our hero, and we stand by him every step of the way.
The cinematography goes a long way in communicating the substance of the film. Everything is gorgeously shot, from sweeping panoramas of downtown to personal up-close shots of the characters. Lighting also plays a big part, often reflecting the circumstances, light signifying happiness and danger translating as dark. There's this feeling of serenity over the pacing too. It gets at times unbearably exciting and tense, but it goes at a manageable speed at all times. It's a sign of the amazing balance between the direction of Nicolas Refn and Amini's script. They compliment each other without a hitch, leading to a cinematic feast of sights, and sounds too.
The aural side of things is one of the most prominent as well. It's a shocking blend of 80's influence and new age ambiance that shouldn't under most circumstances blend together. However, in this case, it works surprisingly well in setting a mood that is truly unique. Also, props go to the sound men who have done a great job in making the most disgusting sounds in the movie sound utterly convincing.
Drive is a study in brilliant film-making. It's an artistic blend of action, love and sorrow. It leaves many of its questions unanswered and leaves much to interpretation, but that's one of the best things about it. It doesn't pander, it doesn't overstate, it feeds on the acting abilities of its cast to deliver something that is both indescribable and unforgettable. Drive is a film to celebrate.