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Movie Review: Drive

Coming your way at breakneck speeds
by Gelo Gonzales | Nov 10, 2011
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Lets all just face the cold hard fact that Ryan Gosling is all over the place. He’s in theaters, on the covers of magazines, and has probably leased and taken residence in your girlfriend’s heart. This year alone, he was  a master of swagger in romcom Crazy, Stupid, Love; a political assistant in George Clooney’s The Ides of March, and a stunt driver in Drive. This year alone. We must admit, the dude’s got skills, but Gosling, we’ve come to realize is better in good doses.

The latter of the three films, Drive, opened in selected Ayala cinemas this week, and both the actor and the movie have proven to be pretty potent.

The film opens with L.A.’s city skyline, and it’s immediately apparent, Tinsel Town is a hotbed for the criminal underground. A skilled and unnamed Driver (Gosling) is a Hollywood stuntman and mechanic by day, a getaway driver for crooks by night.

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Adhering to a set of rules and standards, the Driver has avoided mishaps, and the law. But when his affections for a young mother named Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son take the wheel, things take a turn for the worst. A robbery he agrees to doesn’t go as planned. His family and Irene’s are left in danger of a local shady gangster named Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks).

Gosling is effective at playing this character that really, is there to move you and the plot forward. He’s an empty, past-less shell that no one really knows jack-shit about. All we know is his precision and accuracy when driving are matched with a heart of gold. Or so we thought. As the movie draws out and the characters fall deeper into the follies of their choices, it seems our good old Driver is capable of bloodier acts, if only to protect those he cares about.

The supporting cast should be lauded as well. Albert Brooks can vie for The Most Psychotic Funny Man Ever. His gang lord composure sets the tone for most of the tense scenes in the movie, and when it finally erupts, Mr. Brooks isn’t laughing no more.

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Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Hellboy’s Ron Perlman add more testosterone to the already-amazing lineup. Mulligan plays the object of affection successfully. We’re not surprised she caused a ruckus; her cute and fragile indie vulnerability will make you want to take care of her, too. You hear us, Carey!

Despite the trailers and the actually-expected driving action sequence, please don’t expect Drive to be like most car movies Drive isn’t really about the cars or explosions.
Drive won Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn the best director prize at the last Cannes Film Festival. His stylized approach to this contemporary noir/crime thriller is fresh, mixing the glitz of Los Angeles with the grit of the common criminal. The soundtrack—a wealth of electronic dance music— lends the movie a Miami Vice 80s feel: glossy, high on power, a line of Charlie or two.  

There are a number of reasons to go out of your way and see this film. It’s heavy, not for the faint of heart, nor those who like their movies compacted in rainbows and sunshine. It’s packed with compelling drama, a simple storyline maximized to its fullest potential. It showcases a very cinematic violence, using its leading man as a vulgar vessel for this. With that said, we think Puss in Boots can wait. But don’t miss Drive. Catch it before it speeds off into the sunset.  

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