Film Review: Drive starring Ryan Gosling

Film Review: Drive starring Ryan Gosling

I actually feel quite nervous about writing this review because I really don’t think I can do this movie justice. The only other time I felt like this was when I was trying to write the review for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 had massive sentimental value to me, so I think that goes to show just how good I think this movie is. I have made pages and pages of notes on this movies, though to be honest, I repeat myself quite a lot because the things that make this movie so brilliant are such minor things, which makes me wonder why all films as good as this? Drive has a shocking rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, something which I think really means something, only being beaten by We Need To Talk About Kevin (which opens tomorrow) and Tinker, Tailor, Solider Spy.

Now is it just me, or is Ryan Gosling in everything these days? I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one to think this way as Wikipedia notes that this has been a landmark year for the actor with three major films: Crazy Stupid Love (Click here for review), Drive and The Ideas of March. Although he hasn’t done that many movies (he’s done a lot, but not as many as some actors his age), I firmly believe that everything he does, he does to the best of his ability. Eight out of the eighteen films he’s starred in that are currently out have been nominated for awards. It seems that since 2001 Gosling’s been on a roll and I look forward to seeing all his future works because no doubt they will be brilliant too.

When the movie had finished and I realised that I still didn’t know the name of the protagonist, I immediately kicked myself thinking that I was the stupidest person ever for not picking up on the main character’s name. I had noticed about a third of the way into the movie that his name had still not been revealed and I remember thinking that this gave him and nice and mysterious touch; however, I thought that the audience would find out before the end of the movie. We did not. I had paid quite close attention during the film and I did not recall ever hearing him being addressed by a name and surprise surprise when I checked the film out on Wikipedia it turns out that he actually doesn’t have a name and is referred to as ‘The Driver’ (by the way, Drive has nothing to do with the movie The Driver, so do not get the two confused).

This was a really nice effect and to be honest I can’t really imagine his character with any sort of name. The Driver is a curious character who betrays nothing through his facial expressions. He has an eerie sort of stillness that draws you in and I really must commend Ryan Gosling for this tremendous performance. His character had such a deadly silence that I found myself leaning forward in my seat, desperate not to miss a thing. He’s just so subtle, so swift, so sly, so sleek, so sexy!

Ryan Gosling must have had such concentration whilst filming and I really admire that, I even calculated that his facial expression didn’t move at all for the first seventeen minutes of this film and even that was just a slight creasing of the eyebrows. There was one moment in the film where he had such an intense stillness about him that I couldn’t tell if he was dead or alive! He doesn’t give away anything about his personality and he says very very little. He speaks only when he has something to say, but otherwise he’ll just keep quiet. I don’t think I heard him ever raise his voice above a whisper in this whole movie and he managed to retain a stillness when speaking so that the only thing making an impact on you was his words.

For most of the film The Driver is seen wearing the same white jacket with a scorpion on the back and this couldn’t be more appropriate. Silent, but deadly. He may seem like a passive observer at first, but he can be threatening if he wants to; kind of like a snake that won’t bite unless provoked. Everything The Driver does is so slow and careful, it makes his character really frightening, as you’re not sure what to expect from him. Gosling also showed his compassionate side as there was a really passionate kiss in an elevator and also quite a teary scene. He is such a solitary being, we never see any of his friends or family and so it’s all the more moving that he develops feelings for Irene and her son and becomes their ruthless protector.

I wasn’t entirely sure what Drive would be about prior to watching it. I knew that it would involve a guy who drove the getaway cars for criminals but that was about it. To be honest, there’s not a lot more to the plot line, and that’s the only thing about this movie that I found disappointing.

I think The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, has captured my thoughts exactly as he said: ‘Drive is a movie with power but is still directionless; the acceleration is great, but the steering needs looking at.’ Now Mr Bradshaw only gave Drive a rating of three stars, but I would have to disagree with this and give it a full five stars. At times I did wonder where this movie was headed and when it ended I still wasn’t entirely sure what the point of the movie was, but absolutely everything else about it was just so perfectly brilliant, that this didn’t matter to me. Ryan Gosling stars as a stunt driver for films who makes a bit of extra cash on the side by offering his driving services to criminals. However, he then falls in love with his neighbour, Irene (Mulligan), the wife of an ex-convict and so the both of them are dragged into a dangerous and criminal world.

I’ve never ever seen a movie with a soundtrack that was so suited to the on screen action. As I said, The Driver is quite a quiet person, and so the music does the speaking for him. Sometimes it’s just the tone of the music and at others it’s the actual lyrics which are just perfectly suited for the scene. There was only one moment in this film where I thought that the music didn’t entirely fit the scene, but although it was out of place, it sort of.. worked. The music is so subtle and eerie; it really helps to make The Driver look and feel alone. Sometimes the music drowns out the words and it makes the acting more powerful and alive.

I just checked the rating of Drive and it’s actually an eighteen. It’s not until the second half of the film that you realise why this is needed – there are some really bloody scenes in this which was very unexpected and shocking. Now I’m not a squeamish person but for each and every death in this film I literally jumped back in my seat and covered my mouth because I was so taken off guard. These aren’t your average gang murders, these are really gruesome and brutally bloody deaths. No effort was made to mask the brutality of these actions, they were given to you raw and that’s probably what made them so effective. You could hear the bones crunching, see the bloody spurting and feel the agony of the victim. There are hammers, knives, razor blades, guns, as well as fists in this film and I have to say the murders are actually quite imaginative.

Drive is probably the best movie I’ve seen all year. I literally had no idea what to expect at any given moment, it just kept on surprising me – I wasn’t even sure when the movie ended! The actors were all so incredible, especially Ryan Gosling, and they could convey every emotion without saying anything, and without moving a muscle, the look in their eye was information enough! There are a couple of high speed car chases to make this film a bit more lively and they’re quite exciting scenes, different from your standard Fast and Furious car chases which everyone’s seen countless times. I’d definitely recommend that you see this movie because it’ll capture your every particle from the beginning to the end, it even received a standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival!

If you liked this post, check out these:

Crazy Stupid Love Film Review
 Never Let Me Go Film Review

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