Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a stuntman by day and a wheelman by night. His life changes when he decides to do a job to help a lady he likes. Find out more in the review of Drive.
Business rating: 1.5/5 stars
Star cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks.
What’s Good: The performances; the interesting characterisations; the action sequences.
What’s Bad: The rather slow first half; the excessive blood and gore; the forced reason for Driver’s sacrifice.
Verdict: Drive is a good film but will not do very well at the box-office as it is too different from the usual stuff the Indian audience is used to watching from Hollywood and also because of limited promotion.
Loo break: A couple in the first half.
Watch or Not?: Watch Drive for Ryan Gosling’s performance and Nicholas Winding Refn’s direction.
Bold Films, Odd Lot Entertainment and Marc Platt Productions’ Drive is about a Los Angeles man whose only passion in life is driving cars.
Driver (Ryan Gosling) works as a stuntman in movies and moonlights as a driver for criminals who need to get away quickly after they commit crimes. Mysterious and reticent, he is not interested in what the criminals are doing or what happens to them after he has helped them escape. Driver also works as a mechanic in the garage of Shannon (Bryan Cranston), a former stuntman. Shannon, who has taken Driver under his wings, is trying to kickstart the latter’s professional racing career. For the same, he is working out a deal with local gangsters Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman) who decide to finance Driver’s first racing car.
Meanwhile, Driver meets and starts liking his neighbour, Irene (Carey Mulligan), and her son, Benicio (Kaden Leos). Although there is no overt sign from either side, both, Driver and Irene, it is apparent, are fond of each other. Within days, Standard (Oscar Isaac), Irene’s husband who has been let out on parole, joins his family. Standard, who is a small-time crook, sizes up Driver and finds that he is no threat to the family. One day, Standard is beaten up by a couple of hoodlums to whom Standard owes $20,000. When Driver learns of this, and of the imminent threat to Irene and Benicio, Driver offers his services to Standard for a job. What is the job? Is Driver able to help Irene and Benicio out? What happens to Standard? What of Shannon’s racing plans for Driver? These questions are answered in the latter part and the climax of the drama.
Drive Review – Script Analysis
Hossein Amini’s screenplay, based on the book by James Sallis, is rather simplistic and linear. However, the manner in which different aspects of Driver’s personality are revealed to the audience one after the other, as the story progresses, is very interesting. The characterisations, including those of Driver, Shannon, Standard, Bernie and Nino, are very entertaining. On the flip side, the first half of the film is rather slow as the drama progresses at a leisurely pace. The dialogues have been kept to a bare minimum. However, the narrative takes a surprise turn after Driver agrees to help Standard do a job. In fact, the audience gets shocked when Driver’s true nature is revealed. But since they had been given no clue of what lay inside his calm exterior, the transformation is believable. The action sequences have been executed very well but the graphic nature of a few scenes (heads being bashed, people being knifed) will shock the audience. Some would even be put off. The screenplay relies a lot on the main protagonist’s personality i.e. his quiet, calm and composed demeanour and his mysterious past and motives for doing what he does. Hence, a certain section of the audience – which will not relate to Driver’s characterisation, which is defined by the sole attribute of love for driving – will find the whole drama untenable. Moreover, even otherwise, the track of Driver’s interest in Irene, and the extent to which he goes to protect her, is rather far-fetched.
All in all, the screenplay is very different from the usual fare and relies mainly on gradually building up to the shocking latter half. Its minus points are the slow pace, and the excessive blood and gore. As such, the film will find appreciation only among a section of the discerning audience in the Indian metropolitan cities.
Drive Review – Star Performances
Ryan Gosling is superbly restrained in his performance. He looks smart as Driver and is even impressive in the testosterone-driven action sequences. Carey Mulligan looks her character and does well. Bryan Cranston is very good. Oscar Isaac leaves his mark. Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman are suitably villainous. Kaden Leos, Christina Hendricks (as Blanche) and James Biberi (as Cook) offer good support.
Drive Review – Direction & Music
Nicholas Winding Refn’s direction is very good. He has extracted excellent performances from his cast members and has maintained the audience’s interest in the drama. He succeeds in covering the faults of the script to an extent by using the background score and camerawork to create a distinctive narrative style. Cliff Martinez’s music is very good and complements the drama. Newton Thomas Sigel’s cinematography is excellent. Mat Newman’s editing is alright.
Drive Review – Verdict
On the whole, Drive is a fine film but it holds appeal only for a section of the city-based audience. As such, its prospects at the Indian box-office are rather dim.