Drive Review

I am developing a new man crush.  I have to admit that I had an inkling of it back in Murder by Numbers.  Then Crazy Stupid Love came along and I thought, “Oh yeah, I remember liking this guy before.”  Drive, however, pretty much guaranteed that I would be seeing 95% of Ryan Gosling’s movies in the future.  (I just wouldn’t be able to say I would go to a Notebook 2.  I am after all trying to keep my man card.)

Allow me to paint a picture for you.  You are walking down the street and you see a man walking towards you.  The first thing you notice is that he is wearing a bright silver jacket (collar popped, of course).  He is also wearing driving gloves while out for his jaunt.  You can see from the way that he holds himself and only stares directly forward that he is basically posing, expecting the world to notice him.  Then as he passes you by you notice that on the back of his jacket is a giant stitched on scorpion.

My first thought: Well hello, Douche Bagalow!  This is Gosling’s uniform in Drive.  Yet somehow, Gosling is able to make me instantly, and I mean instantly, see him as the biggest bad ass and most freakin cool person I can think of.  I wanted to be this douche bag.  In fact, he was the furthest thing from a douche bag that I can think of.  This movie made me seriously consider ditching my Captain America costume for Halloween and start looking for a giant scorpion jacket.  (I would never do that to you Cap!)

        There can be only one. Halloween costume.

I call this outfit Ryan Gosling’s uniform because if you read interviews with Ryan or Nicolas Winding Refn (director), they thought of this character in two ways.  Refn saw Gosling’s character (in the movie he has no name other than driver or kid) as a knight.  We will get to why a knight and Refn together are so bad ass in a moment.  Gosling, however, saw the character as a super hero.

Drive is Gosling’s version of a super hero movie.  You have to see Drive to understand how simultaneously ridiculous and awesome that thought is.  Gosling looked at this character as a person who had been so immersed in movies growing up that he had turned himself into a caricature.  He wanted to be a superhero, so he now only acts like a superhero.

                                       No. Not that knight.

The very cool combination of a knight and a superhero then lead Gosling and Refn to a very unique process while filming each scene of Drive.  Every time that Gosling was in a scene, they wanted him to communicate through his actions and not his words.  Knights don’t give speeches.  Superheros go where they are needed.  The result is that in a movie that is about an hour and a half, Gosling maybe has about 10 minutes of total dialog.  He is the main character, he is in 80% of the scenes, but he only talks when it is absolutely necessary for him to.  Bad ass.

To bring back up Refn and knights.  Refn has a knack for using violence.  It is never over the top.  Many times you do not see the actual act itself, but are instead shown Gosling’s face while he is committing the act of (in some cases) extremely brutal violence.  These are like exclamation points on how far from reality Gosling’s character has moved himself.

Another interesting choice that Refn makes is that most of the movie is quiet.  It is like someone turned down the volume levels.  Whenever violence is happening or about to happen, the volume knob gets cranked to 11.  It really accentuates these scenes and makes you feel the moment.

I went to this movie with a couple of people, and at different points all of us were leaning toward the screen because we were so dragged in by what was going on in a normal scene.  Then noise and violence would hit us and we would be thrown back into our seats.  I admit that at first I thought something was wrong with the theater.  Once I realized what was going on and the volume differences were intentional, I was amazed at how it really pulled me into the narrative.

I would like to point out that I am 700 words into this review and I have written nothing about the plot.  I have written nothing about any of the other characters.  That is how amazing Gosling is in this role.  But I would be remiss to not tell you about the other amazing performances in this movie.

First, the girl.  I have not seen Carrie Mulligan in much.  In Drive she is the damsel in distress.  She does not play the character as a weak woman, and in many cases she does not really know that she is in distress.  She also does not have a lot of dialog, but you see and feel everything that is going on between her and Driver.  Plus, Carrie has a beauty to her that I feel would make you notice her no matter the situation she is in.

The third performance that must be discussed is Albert Brooks.  He plays the villain of Drive.  Like me, you might be thinking why is a comedian from the 80’s playing the villain to a bad ass knight/superhero.  Well, I was scared by this cold mother fucker.  He slices people open without hesitation and then looks them in the eye and says “It’s already done.”  This is truly an award worthy performance.

Drive is amazing.  Everyone I was with was instantly enthralled by this film.  I very highly recommend seeing Drive the next time you head out to the theater.  There is violence but it is short and to the point, and in every instance it either drives the plot forward or adds depth to a character.  Drive is one of the best films I have seen this year.  See Drive.

Have you seen Drive?  What did you think of it?  Let us know in the comments below.

~Ryan Lynch