“If I drive for you, you give me a time and a place. I give you a five-minute window, anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours no matter what. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down; I don’t carry a gun… I drive.” This is the longest sentence uttered by the unnamed character played by Ryan Gosling in Nicholas Winding Refn’s new film “Drive.” The movie is filled with suspense, silence, and brutal violence, all done well making it the best movie of the fall.
The story, based on the novel of the same name by James Sallis, centers around the nameless character of Driver who says very little yet has character depth that is rarely seen in movies. During the day, he drives as a stuntman in movies or works at a garage, but at night, he is a getaway driver for robberies. As the quote mentioned earlier, all he does is drive. He doesn’t get mixed up in the crimes, he has a code of conduct, and he always stays within it—until the woman he loves is threatened.
Irene (Carey Mulligan) is a single mom living in the same apartment as Driver, and they quickly fall in love, but not in the conventiona
l sense. Nothing happens physically or verbally, but there is a sense of serenity when the two are together. They both understand. But when Irene’s husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), is released from prison and tries to set his life straight, the gangsters he used to work for won’t let that happen. Driver, being the silent hero, decides to help him pull of a heist to get rid of the gangsters. Unfortunately, all goes wrong, and for Driver to protect Irene, he must go on the offensive.
The action sequences are a little more graphic than anything you would see in an everyday Hollywood film. For example, Gosling literally stomps a man’s head in, with no visual details left to the imagination of the audience. This violence may turn some away, but it makes the film all the more real. Instead of glorifying violence and not showing the brutality, the film embraces it and shocks viewers with a blunt, true depiction of what happens when you get shot with a shotgun.
The true beauty of the film though lies within the complex character of Driver. He is silent, cool, and cunning, but also humble, gracious and caring. His relationship with Benicio, Irene’s son, is special and gentle. But on the flip-side, his defense mode shifts him into high gear as he pulls off incredible, yet perfectly real, driving moves while ruthlessly eliminating his hunters.
The film’s soundtrack and cinematography are well done, both creating the perfect mood for the film. The soundtrack is highly techno but matches the tone of the movie perfectly, creating an intense ambiance. The directing and cinematography are also spot-on with the perfect amount of swift camera changes during the car scenes and overall great shot choices throughout the movie.“Drive” is the perfect amalgamation of swift brutal action, deep characters, and a gripping story. The pace of the film may seem slow to some, and it is not filled with driving sequences, like the title would lead you to believe, but this film is truly one of a kind and cannot be missed.