- 1 hr 35 min
Drive is a 2011 neo-noir crime thriller directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling as the unnamed protagonist - a Hollywood stuntman who also works as a getaway driver for hire. The movie is set in Los Angeles and is based on the eponymous 2005 novel by James Sallis. It features a star-studded cast, including Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks, and Christina Hendricks.
The plot of Drive revolves around Gosling's character, who leads a double life as a stuntman and a driver-for-hire, often aiding criminals in their heists by driving them to and from their target locations. Despite his dangerous profession, he maintains a stoic and distant demeanor while outside of his car, rarely revealing anything about himself or his past to the people he interacts with.
However, things take a different turn for him when he becomes romantically involved with his neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), and her young son, Benicio. Irene's husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), is in prison and she finds comfort in the driver's presence. But when Standard is released, a chain of events is set in motion that forces the driver to take part in a heist himself, putting his life and that of Irene and Benicio in danger.
The movie's strength lies in its artful direction, superb acting, and sparse but impactful dialogue. Refn's stylized and atmospheric visuals add a layer of depth to the film's central themes of loneliness, identity, and redemption. The soundtrack by Cliff Martinez is also a standout feature, with its haunting and dreamlike synth compositions creating an almost hypnotic effect.
Ryan Gosling delivers a memorable performance as the driver, effortlessly embodying both his tough, silent persona and his vulnerability when it comes to his feelings for Irene and Benicio. Carey Mulligan is equally impressive as Irene, portraying her character's quiet strength and vulnerability with subtlety and honesty. Bryan Cranston is excellent as Shannon, the driver's boss and mentor, whose ill-fated schemes lead to disastrous consequences.
A major talking point of the film is its use of violence, which is sudden, brutal, and at times horrifically graphic. However, unlike most action movies, it is not gratuitous and serves a purpose in the story, highlighting the senselessness of violence and its cyclical perpetuation. This is particularly evident in the climactic scene, which is a masterclass in tension and suspense, set against a backdrop of neon-lit nighttime streets.
In conclusion, Drive is a stylish, thought-provoking, and intense movie, with a distinct visual and aural palette that sets it apart from other crime thrillers. It is a movie that rewards viewers who pay attention to its subtle details and symbolism, and is a testament to the power of cinema when done right. It is not for the squeamish, but for those who appreciate a good story, memorable characters, and atmospheric visuals, Drive is a must-watch.
Drive is a 2011 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.8 and a MetaScore of 78.