So I’m a bit late to the party with regards to seeing Drive, which came out about eighteen months ago and stars Ryan Gosling and Carey Mullingan. However, some things are worth waiting for and, if you haven’t seen it, then I suggest you do so at your earliest possible convenience. I’m a huge fan of Mark Kermode’s film blog on the BBC and last year there was a huge debate sparked by fans when he decided to leave it out of his top ten films of 2011. Given such controversy, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Essentially, it’s an old-fashioned mob-style movie except the heist goes wrong and it’s one man against the mob. The main character, the nameless narrator (Gosling) gets caught up in a dodgy debt-settling job when his neighbour’s husband who is newly released from prison asks for his help. The narrator is a movie stunt man by day and a get away driver by night and so his job is to make sure everyone stays alive and out of sight of the police. Ultimately, as with many films of this genre, it’s quite a violent tale which makes for uncomfortable viewings at times and well deserving of its 18 certificate. However, though the violence is gratuitous and would rival any Tarantino movie, it is not without necessity or merit. It provides a blunt juxtaposition to the tenderly handled relationship between the narrator and his neighbour (Mulligan) and her son.
Gosling portrays the main character with such stoicism and the frequent tableaux of the narrator with his back to the camera, showing the audience a gold scorpion on his white jacket is a constant reminder that we have no idea what is going on. No doubt that image will become legendary among film fans. This is by far Gosling’s finest performance, with few lines, his mere presence on the screen was powerful enough to demand pathos and respect from the audience.
The car chases, and there are many, are incredible, but you’d expect nothing less from a film titled: Drive. It’s certainly not a first date movie, but it’s definitely close to perfection. Only the casting of Ron Perlman brings it’s reputation below par, but I guess the producers didn’t want to be too arrogant about how good it actually is!