“DRIVE is the story of a Hollywood stunt driver by day (Ryan Gosling), a loner by nature, who moonlights as a top-notch getaway driver-for-hire in the criminal underworld. He finds himself a target for some of LA’s most dangerous men after agreeing to aid the husband of his beautiful neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan). When the job goes dangerously awry, the only way he can keep Irene and her son alive is to do what he does best-Drive!”
Firstly I’d like to say that this is the best film of 2011 and what you have heard about it being snubbed by the Oscars is entirely true. The one thing this film is nominated for is Sound editing. Even in a world where a film about a sheep herding pig can be nominated for 7 academy awards, I did expect more. Out of all of the things within the film, the Sound Editing isn’t even the most eye catching thing (or ear catching I should say). The cinematography and editing are far better than a lot of the films being nominated. Especially the cinematography, the camera work is astoundingly well done. As the blurb suggests a lot of the film takes place in a car. Which is true but unlike most car films, the camera mostly stays within the car, giving the effect of closeness and attachment to the story; making it more about the characters than the action, making this a good antithesis to the car porn of say, Fast and Furious or Gone in 60 Seconds. the only time for a slightly long period does the camera leave the car is when he is doing stunt driving for his job, which shows it from the point of view of the camera men, as an audience and not as key character relation.
Alongside all of the sublime technical techniques is the whole style and feel of the film. It has the lighting and mood of the classic noir film but the simplistic plot of the classic pulp crime stories and a slightly indie feel for it make it one of the most stylistically cool films I’ve seen in a while.
The acting as well is sensational, Ryan Gosling really does the whole loner thing type well, Oscar Issac always surprises me how good he can act in his films, Albert Brooks considering all I had seen him in before was Finding Nemo where he did the voice of Nemo’s dad, was really good, Ron Perlman despite being one of the most unpleasant looking actors is quite good but you can definitely see why he was cast as Hellboy. Bryan Cranston and Carey Mulligan are always good, Carey Mulligan was great in Shame and equally so in this, Cranston keeps on playing the same characters but he does it well so why shouldn’t he make a career out of it and last but not least Christina Hendricks. Who looks a heck of a lot less glamorous in this than she does on Mad Men and becomes almost unrecognizable, but is also surprisingly good if only we could of seen more of her.
Another thing I almost forgot to mention is the music. Perhaps not the most obvious type of music for the film, but through out many of the lyrics say what the characters are not. I don’t mean that in a cheesy kind of way, but in a way that truly works because there isn’t that much dialogue shared between Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, so to make it easier for people to put the emotions together, the music creates a good undertone to piece together the feelings they have between each other.
At time darkly witty and at times quite gruesome this story of a loner is incredibly reminiscent of Taxi Driver, but with more of a pulp twist and a slightly more approachable protagonist.
This pitch perfect neo-noir pulp action thriller is with out a doubt the best film of 2011.
Best Line in the Film: “Why don’t you shut your mouth, before I kick your teeth in and shut it for you”- The Driver (Ryan Gosling)