Buckle up it’s going to be a bloody ride.
Our latest incarnation of the man with no name is Ryan Gosling who is a straight talking no nonsense driver. A stunt driver for the movies, a getaway driver for the right price and a stock car driver for his boss. The boss in question is Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Seinfeld) and it is he who sets our film in motion by introducing Ryan to the quietly menacing character of Albert Brooks. Al will gladly front the money for a stock car but when Ryan does a job for his love interest’s (Carey Mulligan) husband and inadvertently ends up with Als partner’s money things get messy. The partner in question is no other than Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman. He’s ditched the makeup and cigar and now runs a pizza joint with extra intimidation on top.
To say things get messy is a bit of an understatement, this is probably more violent than most of Scorsese’s cannon combined. The violence however is not glorified, it is brutal and over in the blink of an eye in some cases but lingers long enough to give you the message that these are not good men and they will do anything to get what they want. Gosling is pitch perfect as the quiet man who lets loose his fury once Carey and her home life come under threat. The pace is laid down brilliantly by director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson), he reels us in gently with the opening getaway, gently teasing us with the prospect of love set to Cliff Martinez’s electro soundtrack then reels us in and delivers the killer blow with the final forty minutes.
I dare say David Lynch looked on with envy at the dream like quality of Drive. With soft lighting , just the right amount of slow motion and longing looks we slip in and out of consciousness never wanting to go back to the bleak reality but just when we were getting comfortable along comes Al and Ron to focus or minds. I really hope when award season comes around that Al gets a look in for portraying someone more akin to his taxi driver star than the campaign manager he was nearly 35 years ago.
Now Drive doesn’t have the most original storyline going and I couldn’t help being reminded of Shane at different times but it’s the execution of the movie that sets it apart. From the lipstick opening titles over a neon LA to the ultra violent action sequences all the while our hero with his scorpion sports jacket and brown knuckless driving gloves never lets his toothpick drop.