Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog


Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on September 18, 2011 at 5:40 PM

DRIVE   ***1/2

Nicolas Winding Refn


IDEA:  A Hollywood stunt driver who drives for criminals at night must take the offensive when he inadvertently gets involved with a line of dangerous gangsters.

BLURB:  Opening up on a nocturnal Los Angeles that seems to exist in a foggy, underwater daze, Drive establishes itself immediately as a stylishly moody thriller with an icy cool precision. It’s not until the heads get smashed and Gosling’s enigmatic, ruthlessly efficient Driver becomes a killing machine does it really sink in just how luridly disquieting the film is, the blood-splattered walls perhaps not even the apex of its slowly rattling menace. What haunts is the atmosphere, dark, queasy, shot through with more than a tinge of claustrophobia, scored to synthetic 80s beats that sound as though they were trapped below Los Angeles’ concrete surface. Then there’s Ryan Gosling, in a performance so stealthy, composed, and apparently invulnerable he feels more like psychotic myth than real person. The character arc of his Driver plays out like a twisted superhero origin story, his existence a kind of amped up action hero fantasy. In this fantasy, however, his fatalistic nature proves as deadly as a scorpion’s inevitable sting.

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