Runs like a dream – Drive review

Drive – Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Albert Brooks. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. Rated MA. Originally published August 7, 2011. By Simon Miraudo.

This review was first run during the Melbourne International Film Festival. Drive opens in Australian cinemas October 27, 2011.

The best word to describe Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive based on James Sallis’ book of the same name – is ‘cool’. Perhaps it’s the only word necessary. But, I probably can’t get away with a one-word review, so allow me to expand on my feelings.

Ryan Gosling, starring as an LA stunt-man and freelance getaway driver, is really, really cool. When he falls in love with an ex-con’s wife (Carey Mulligan), he lowers his normally very-high standards, and agrees to assist her hubby (Oscar Isaac) in a heist that will help pay off the thugs who are threatening their family. But the heist goes wrong (as they oft do), and everyone’s life – including that of the driver’s mechanic (Bryan Cranston) and his mob-connected bosses (Albert BrooksRon Perlman) – ends up on the line.

Refn’s direction is so stylish and slick and Hollywood chic, but never vapid. The persistent, pulsating, synth-pop soundtrack is electrifying. The cinematography is gorgeous, and so uniquely and strangely composed. For a film that pays tributes to film noirs of the 40s, gritty crime dramas of the 70s, and neon-lit action films of the 80s, Drive is surprisingly novel, featuring moments that are so unexpected, and in some cases, never before attempted.

Drive is an issue of Teen Beat magazine come to life, with hot pink lipstick smeared over the top, and with smatterings of some of the most extreme violence you’ve ever seen thrown in for good measure. Precisely paced, but with plenty of fantastic action set-pieces, Drive is too much fun. Seriously, it’s cool.

4.5/5

Check out Simon’s other reviews here.

Drive opens in Australian cinemas October 27, 2011.

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