Brian’s Review – “Drive”

In this thriller, Driver (Ryan Gosling), a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver, is lured from his isolated life by a lovely neighbor and her young son. His newfound peace is shattered, however, when her violent husband is released from prison.

Brian – 6 out of 10

It’s hard to get past the hype of a film when so much positive attention has been given its way. I’m sure many of you through either word of mouth or a good review from a publication have heard enough about a film that it made you excited to see it. Then, when it doesn’t live up to your expectations, you feel disappointed. I guess I felt exactly that way after seeing Drive. I had heard a lot about it including its possible inclusion come Oscar time. But, at the end of the day, it grades out as a good crime thriller that never gets close to greatness. A lot of interesting elements are here. The idea of a Hollywood stunt driver working on the side transporting criminals after they rob an establishment is certainly interesting fodder. It opened the door for possible amazing action scenes that are partially delivered and partially not.

The opening is fantastic. We get to see Ryan Gosling’s character listening to a police scanner while evading police by not just out-driving but also out-thinking them. Then, the film takes a detour and steers(these puns are getting out of control) towards a romantic story that never really feels complete. Carey Mulligan is supremely likeable but she’s given so little to work with. Her background is never explored. All we know is her husband just got out of jail, she’s crazy about her son, and she has feelings for Gosling. The rest of the time she’s forced to sit back and watch people in peril but never really reacts very much or even offer her own opinion on the matter. If you’re going to write a film where the romantic connection is supposed to be the anchor to the dramatic arc, you have to create a better sense of who these people are. That brings us to Gosling, who does exactly what’s required from the script but he’s so indelibly creepy that it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to get involved with him. There are long dialogue sequences where he’s completely silent or sitting with a half-cocked grin on his face like he’s a serial killer from a Thomas Harris novel. So, after all my criticism, why is this film a 6? The crime element worked very good. There’s a fair number of scenes that offer a great sense of suspense. I found myself on the edge of my seat whenever he was on a job as a getaway driver. I suppose it’s a film that at the end of the day tried to reach higher than its script would allow and partially delivers.

3 responses to “Brian’s Review – “Drive”

  1. I agree for the most part nice review I might add the soundtrack was so distracting for me.

  2. Word of mouth got me to see this movie, otherwise I would have lumped it in as typical Hollywood marketing schlock like Killer Elite or The Mechanic. I wasn’t disappointed, and immensely enjoyed the soundtrack, which ended up playing at quite a few social gatherings in my neighborhood.
    It’s certainly not Oscar material, I agree that it’s not great, but, it’s good, and it seems to be a rare occasion that we even get good from Hollywood.

  3. Understandable your thoughts about the romantic subplot (although, I doubt it could be called a subplot because it was a primary part of the film!) but I thought it was more interesting as to what was unsaid, that gave this relationship the sizzle. The unrestrained chemistry between Mulligan and Gosling was palpable, it seemed to leap off the screen (and that kiss in the elevator was electric, IMO) so I think it’s just a matter of expectation that allows this element of the film to succeed or fail.
    Great review, however – and I think this film will stand the test of time.

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