Worth The DRIVE

Once in a great while a film comes along and blows the doors off your movie going experience and makes you wanna burn the house down. I mean this in a good way, of course. Drive, the new film staring Ryan Gosling, was that film for me.

First of all the original trailers are misleading. The movie has been marketed as a Fast and Furious type film. It couldn’t be further from that. And let me say, if you like the Fast and Furious movies, and I do, but go in to Drive expecting to seen Vin Diesel rippin shit up then you will be disappointed. This film is more like a cross between The Transporter and Michael Mann’s Heat with a touch of Pulp Fiction thrown in.  Yup, it’s THAT good and worthy of those comparisons.

The film is set in Los Angeles and it looks and sounds like it belongs somewhere in the world of 80s cheese, but it clearly does not. The soundtrack is littered with synthizer driven poppy songs sung by women, that fits the mood perfectly.

Ryan Gosling plays the lead character. His name is never given. I’ll call him the driver.  A stunt-driver by day and a getaway driver for hire by night. It’s apparent from the get go that Gosling’s character is a tortured soul. But why? We are never given his back story. Maybe his parents abused him. Maybe he lost the love of his life to cancer. Or maybe, it’s simpler than that. My theory, the guy is just lonely.

The film begins with the driver on the job. He’s driving two men away from a robbery. The scene is perfect. Minimal dialogue. The speedy cat and mouse chase with police says more than words ever could.

Eventually Gosling meets his sexy new neighbor played by Carey Mulligan. He falls for the woman and bonds with her young son. Things get bad for all characters when Mulligan’s boyfriend is released from jail. His actions put her along with her son in danger. With simple facial expressions and body language it is evident you don’t want to mess with people the driver cares for. And when shits hits the fan and he starts kicking ass, those with weak stomachs may be forced to turn away from the violence.

Supporting characters in this film are a virtual who’s who of TVs most talented stars. Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad plays Gosling’s mentor. Ron Pearlman from Sons of Anarchy is terrific as a sleazy Jewish gangster and Christina “Big Red” Hendricks from Mad Men shines as a pawn store robber. The best performance in the film however, (besides Gosling) goes to comedian Albert Brooks. He plays a sadistic ex movie producer who kills men in ways you’ve never seen on the big screen.

Get out there and see it. It’s the best film I’ve seen this year.

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