Ryan Gosling stars as the unnamed driver in Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest flick, Drive. He plays a mechanic/part time stunt driver who also moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. Everything’s pretty peachy until he bumps into Carey Mulligan’s Irene. It’s always the girl man. Guys need to recognise that it’s always the girl you fall in love with that messes shit up.

So Irene also happens to have a son. She’s also still married to a jailbird named Standard Gabriel. Who’s coming home soon. Most guys would back off if the girl’s married plus she’s got a kid. Not the driver. He’s still smitten and cares for her. When Standard gets beat up by mobsters, he offers to help him rob a pawnshop so they will leave  him and his family alone. However, the robbery goes awry when Standard gets killed and the driver just ends up with a million in a bag, a freaked out Christina Hendricks and mobsters on his tail.

He then turns into a cold killer in order to protect himself and Irene but like the tagline goes, there’s no clean getaways. So cue slowed down dramatic scenes with requisite music and then sudden, blink and you’ll miss brutal action sequences. One stunning example is the scene in an elevator when the Driver is in the lift with Irene and notices this other guy has a gun in his jacket. He calmly puts his arm around Irene, takes her aside and smooches her before grabbing said dude’s head and smashing it into the control panel and stomping to finish. Actually, the soundtrack is kickass. Something most people will surely pick up. The score is by Cliff Martinez and I think you could call it a more electro Clint Mansell. It’s pretty good and the main track by Kavinsky, Nightcall, is really really good. College’s track, A Real Hero, is the one that’s stuck in my head. By itself, the music is good but in context with the movie, insane.

Gosling also props up with a star turn. He’s calm and collected and driven, not unlike Delon in Le Samourai. His pants are a little tight but otherwise, his Big E Type III is on point as is his iconic gold souvenir jacket with the scorpion on the back that gets progressively bloodier as we go along. I like how he’s got a lot of trademarkey things on him, like how he’s almost always got a toothpick in his mouth ala Chow Yun Fatt or his gloves whenever he’s punching someone’s lights out.

I liked the pacing and the action sequences were pretty good. The car chase scenes look really good, realistic, gritty and tight all at the same time. Drive was definitely worth the hype it’s been brewing for me. If the Pusher Trilogy was Refn’s The Bends/OK Computer and Valhalla Rising was his Hail To The Thief, then Drive is surely his In Rainbows.

Fuckin’ Ebert picked up on the Le Samourai thing too.

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