Spoilers need you to step on it.
After all the talk about cinematography in The Neon Demon, there was no way I was not going to review this feature film. This is an action film, a genre film, a character-driven film and yes, a eloquent drama. As an audience member, you sort of wish that everything turns out ok for that last gig that we need for a clean getaway. But the jaded movie goer knows there is no such thing. What there is, is one great film.
Drive (2011) was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn with a screenplay written by Hossein Amini based upon the book by James Sallis. It is the story of a stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) and garage mechanic who moonlights as a getaway driver for dirty jobs. One day he helps out his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her kid Benicio (Kaden Leos) and develops a rapport with them despite his silent demeanor.
The more I like a film, the less I like to reveal its plot, but there’s so many other great things about this movie. The cinematography is spectacular. There are so many frames that I would like to have as a poster that it’s not funny. The color composition, as I’ve learn is characteristic from Nicolas Winding Refn is vivid and of high contrast. The blocking is simply masterful and the way some shots are composed whenever a mirror or a reflective surface are present are just beautiful.
Ryan Gosling’s performance here is of the strong silent type and his acting is top notch here. His stance, his demeanor, his look, everything speaks just volumes without saying a single word. Carey Mulligan’s role of Irene is one of the love interest, but both her and Gosling really sell the chemistry in spades. They’re really into each other even without saying a word. I also have to mention Albert Brooks’ performance as the gangster Bernie Rose and Bryan Cranston as Shannon.
The movie does have an opening action piece, in which we meet our driver doing what he does best. As exhilarating as it is, we don’t get a ton of car chases in the film. Sometimes we’re just watching him drive, and I still found that very enjoyable. There is action and violence in this film and when it happens, it happens hard. This driver is not above getting his hands dirty when the situation calls for it.
Very highly recommended for fans of film with action done right. I hesitate to say action movie fans as this is far above a popcorn film, but so much more violent than an art film. Genre film enthusiasts who love the filmmaking process will love it. The cinematography, the camera work, the action pieces, the performance and yes, the plot execution, are top notch. Silent type anti-hero archetypes could learn a lot about Gosling’s driver role.
That will do for now.