Rajeev Masand

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Joy ride

 
 

Drive

Rating: 3.5

September 30, 2011

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Issac, Christina Hendricks

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Ryan Gosling shines as a nameless auto mechanic and Hollywood stunt driver who uses his skills behind the wheel to moonlight as a getaway guy for criminals in the moody, existential thriller Drive. Clients get five minutes only, no more no less, for them to do their dirty work and hop back inside to evade the cops. Then Gosling burns rubber.

This highly stylized, meditative piece from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn is an arthouse-meets-action movie that appeals both to the head and the heart. Drenched in a kitschy neon glow, and accompanied by a soundtrack reminiscent of the electronic pulse of 80s pop, Drive has the look and feel of classic noir.

Opening with a thrilling chase scene that quickly establishes Gosling’s character as a strong, silent brooder who knows his way around Los Angeles’ streets, the film proceeds to introduce us to its other key players. Bryan Cranston is the crippled garage owner who sets up our hero with his jobs, both legal and criminal. He also draws him into contact with two local mob bosses, played by Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman. After befriending a neighbor, played by Carey Mulligan, who lives alone with her son, our hero finds himself in an awkward position when her husband is released from prison and returns home. Out of inherent decency, he offers to help the husband pull off one last job so he can pay off the criminals who’ve been threatening the wife and kid. Things, however, go badly wrong.

Drive takes a simple story and sexes it up with funky treatment. The scenes move leisurely in the film’s early portions with minimal dialogue, but as the plot kicks in closer to the halfway mark, the stage is set for some brutal, visceral action. In many scenes, the tone changes unexpectedly from a dreamlike tranquility to sudden bursts of violence, like one particularly memorable sequence in an elevator.

The acting is top notch from the entire cast, and the sexual chemistry between Gosling and Mulligan is beautifully understated. Mulligan, in fact, is radiant and brings just the right hint of melancholy to the part of a damaged woman. But the film is anchored by Gosling’s quietly charming performance; as a character with no back-story, his appeal lies in the air of mystery that surrounds him.

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Drive. It’s a flashy firecracker of a film that’s held up by a smoldering central performance. Don’t miss it!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

Ryan Gosling shines as a nameless auto mechanic and Hollywood stunt driver who uses his skills behind the wheel to moonlight as a getaway guy for criminals in the moody, existential thriller Drive. Clients get five minutes only, no more no less, for them to do their dirty work and hop back inside to evade the cops. Then Gosling burns rubber.

This highly stylized, meditative piece from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn is an arthouse-meets-action movie that appeals both to the head and the heart. Drenched in a kitschy neon glow, and accompanied by a soundtrack reminiscent of the electronic pulse of 80s pop, Drive has the look and feel of classic noir.

Opening with a thrilling chase scene that quickly establishes Gosling’s character as a strong, silent brooder who knows his way around Los Angeles’ streets, the film proceeds to introduce us to its other key players. Bryan Cranston is the crippled garage owner who sets up our hero with his jobs, both legal and criminal. He also draws him into contact with two local mob bosses, played by Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman. After befriending a neighbor, played by Carey Mulligan, who lives alone with her son, our hero finds himself in an awkward position when her husband is released from prison and returns home. Out of inherent decency, he offers to help the husband pull off one last job so he can pay off the criminals who’ve been threatening the wife and kid. Things, however, go badly wrong.

Drive takes a simple story and sexes it up with funky treatment. The scenes move leisurely in the film’s early portions with minimal dialogue, but as the plot kicks in closer to the halfway mark, the stage is set for some brutal, visceral action. In many scenes, the tone changes unexpectedly from a dreamlike tranquility to sudden bursts of violence, like one particularly memorable sequence in an elevator.

The acting is top notch from the entire cast, and the sexual chemistry between Gosling and Mulligan is beautifully understated. Mulligan, in fact, is radiant and brings just the right hint of melancholy to the part of a damaged woman. But the film is anchored by Gosling’s quietly charming performance; as a character with no back-story, his appeal lies in the air of mystery that surrounds him.

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Drive. It’s a flashy firecracker of a film that’s held up by a smoldering central performance. Don’t miss it!

9 Responses to “Joy ride”

  1. prabhdeep singh says:

    That was quite supportive….. Alas! No shows in Chandigarh

  2. sarma says:

    what a pathetic review…sucking up to anything remotely western…i saw this movie in a theatre in NJ and it was the slowest movie I have ever seen…quietly charming performance/ sexual chemistry…i’m not sure if you watched the movie or read some stupid imdb reviews over the film

  3. goslingfan007 says:

    I was expecting this review from Masand sir…Drive is one of the best art-action movie i have ever seen and movie receiving appreciation from all over the world…that elevator scene truly shows the human’s double sided nature as one side he kissed and other second he kicked..truly a must watch!

  4. Priyanka says:

    Hello Rajeev

    “Bryan Cranston is the crippled garage owner who sets up our hero with his jobs, both legal and criminal. ”

    I was under the impression that Shannon was the driver’s boss only in his day-job. He supplies cars for his night-job but that’s about it. Gosling is shown to handle his moonlighting all by himself.
    Also, I was very disappointed by the reluctance to delve into Gosling’s character, especially in the latter parts where he turns to brutal violence. A stoic, unemotional man who suddenly develops a psychopathic tendency to beat the shit out of people he barely knows? What is he thinking? There is a great character in there, somewhere, and the writing let me down, both in terms of plot and character. I have noticed that you don’t normally reply to comments on your website but would you agree? The plot itself was threadbare and full of inexplicable twists and coincidences (and unnecessary diversions, like the NASCAR sub-plot) , but it only emphasizes the beauty that the director brought to this film. What do you think?

  5. vikram says:

    really?3.5/5?
    i had a terrible time watching this movie.
    its really slow paced…..like a snail!
    unnecessary pauses between the dialogues.
    just about average story line(come on! who would be such a saint for a person who does illegal transportation).
    not to mention Ryan Gosling’s pale all-time-one-emotion face and his occasional wordings “okay…”, “Sure…”
    the only rush in the movie was those all of a sudden bursts or shots which were fired when background score(noise rather) was low.
    my verdict 1/5….

  6. priyabrata says:

    Well it is 5/5 movie. Great movie and loved Gosling
    music is classic, action is brilliant and gripping movie

  7. Gopal says:

    This movie was brilliant brilliant brilliant.. i just sat there on my seat really hoping that everything ends well for the hero.. This truly deserves a 4. Thank you so much for giving it a 3.5 masand ji!

  8. viveck says:

    Brilliant movie..What do u mean by SLOW…Vikram..Do you make love slowly or just shoot off..in secs..There is a difference in lovemaking and F**K

  9. Tanmay says:

    This Movie either too fast to catch-up, or too slow to bother…

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