The plot of Drive revolves around Ryan Gosling's character, who's name, mysteriously enough, is never revealed. He is a driver for film stunts by day and a driver for robberies by night, and it doesn't seem like he has a lot to live for outside of cars and driving. His only friend is his boss, played by Bryan Cranston, who sees his potential and hopes to invest in Gosling's future as a race car drive. This is until Gosling begins to open his heart to his neighbor Irene, played by the cute Carey Mulligan (An Education), and her young son Benicio.  When the mob threatens his neighbors family because of a debt owed by her husband, just out of jail, he decides to help him with a final heist to get him off the hook.  This is when things start to get interesting... The film starts out very slow, reminiscent of some of the 80’s films that weren’t all about quick edits and big explosions. Instead, the audience is left with something more reminiscent of William Friedken’s "To Live and Die in LA." The soundtrack fits the setting and the pace of the film extremely well, illuminating the streets of L.A. and the dynamic throughout the movie. The acting is nothing special, despite the superb cast; though I must say while I went in having a hard time believing Ryan Gosling could pull off an unflinching “bad-ass," I came out looking forward to him trying his taste at meatier roles. Christina Hendricks’ short appearance was the most impressive performance of the film and I now have a new expectation for her outside of Mad Men, thinking she could perhaps be our generations Toni Collette…

The chase sequences were well done, and the brutal gory action was Scarface-esque, but it’s the flow and crescendo of the movie up to the ending that really impressed me. I wish it had ended about 5 minutes sooner than it did, and if you see the movie you’ll know the exact moment I’m talking about. Other than that, I was pleasantly surprised enough to give it 4 stars in hopes that production companies will see it’s okay taking more risks like it did with Drive and pave the way for films that aren’t all Michael Bay, big explosive action sequences and 3D pieces of garbage. If it takes the influence of a few foreign directors like Drive's Nicolas Winding Refn, so be it… He is on the top of my list of recent breakout directors. For more amazing films from Nicolas, check out the outright impressive “Bronson” (Clockwork Orange Esque) and his also noteworthy followup “Valhalla Rising” (both streaming on Netflix I might add). As for myself, I’ll be checking out his Denmark directorial debut “Pusher.”


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