This “Drive” leads you to the best movie of the year

 

Movies such as “Faster” and “Drive Angry” feature well-known actors as furious or revenge-stricken men who are great behind the wheel. Unlike “Drive”, those films were neither great nor memorable. Directed by Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, “Drive” is a gritty and violent film that features an intense performance from Ryan Gosling.

Set in Los Angeles, Gosling’s nameless character is a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver. One day, the driver meets and befriends his next-door neighbors Irene (Carey Mulligan) and his son Benicio (Kadens Leo). When Irene’s husband, Standard (Oscar Issacs), is released from prison, he gets a vicious beat down from some guys he owes a lot of money to.

In order to ensure that Irene and Benicio are safe, the driver decides to assist Standard in pulling out a heist at a pawn shop. However, things go downhill from there that causes the driver to go to the extreme in violent and methodical ways in order to ensure Irene and Benicio’s safety.

The opening sequence of “Drive” immediately captures your attention with a getaway that quickly turns into a cat-and-mouse game among the driver, his clients and the Los Angeles Police Department. As the opening credits roll, the text and the music used are very similar and reminiscent of “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” or some cheesy ‘80s action movie.

Even though the movie starts with an exhilarating chase scene, “Drive” is a quiet and subdued film that does not require a lot of action sequences in order to be exciting. The movie slowly unfolds from being a car-chasing action movie to a fantastic modern-day crime story. This movie is not for the squeamish as “Driver” features intense and violent scenes that appear at the most unexpected moments in the film.

Ryan Gosling delivers his most intense performance to date, even though he does not say much. His character starts out as a likable and shy person, but when the moment calls for it, he can become a vicious psycho who will do anything to protect his friends. Gosling gets support from a top-notch supporting ensemble that includes Bryan Cranston and Albert Brooks. Cranston is great as a man way over his head when things begin to spiral out-of-control. As Brooks is  better known for his comedic performances rather than dramatic films like this one,  he is surprisingly effective as a villain while his character becomes progressively more violent and sleazy as the movie develops.

After directing a couple of independent film such as “The Pusher Trilogy”, “Bronson” and “Valhalla Rising”, Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film proves that he is an amazing storyteller with a unique cinematic vision. The film is visually stunning with a unique use of lighting that is unlike anything I have seen before. The stylish cinematography is fantastic; the movie displays some amazing aerial shots of the Los Angeles skyline and smooth shots and do not require quick rapid cuts to enhance the film.

“Drive” features a synthesizer-driven soundtrack composed by Cliff Martinez, who recently scored Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion”. The soundtrack also includes songs that will instantly transport you to the 1980s with songs like “Tick of the Clock” and “A Real Hero”.

“Drive” is the best movie of the year that features another great performance from Ryan Gosling and showcases Nicolas Winding Refn’s skill as a brilliant filmmaker.

“Drive”: 5 stars out of 5

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