Car chases, love affairs, a hollywood heart-throb behind the wheel of a dual identity: Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011) promised to be a sexy flick and after Jess’s review of the opening jam Nightcall, I could barely wait to see Ryan Gosling’s latest performance.
Gosling plays the driver who works, by day, as a car stuntman for the hollywood big wigs, twisting cars shamelessly out of shape without receiving a mere scratch. By night, Gosling crusades through the streets of L.A. as a getaway driver for any criminal who needs his services. You can just imagine how that sort of thing would lead to a few adrenaline pumping car chases and, in a word, trouble.
The opening sequence features Kavinsky’s eerily captivating song, “Nightcall“. Winding Refn’s inclusion of this song sets the pace for what will ultimately become a dark, violent and passionate film. The following soundtrack is unmatched for a thriller of this caliber, including tracks like “A Real Hero” by College feat. Electric Youth and “Under Your Spell” by Desire.
Although Drive has the elements to make for a sexy, action-thriller (typical of many hollywood messes we see these days), Winding Refn is intent upon character development, and Gosling is perfect for the role of the driver. Essentially, he is a lone ranger who thrives off the adrenaline of the ride, but it is clear that with such little human connection, Gosling is bound to fall for his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan). In this burst of emotion that formerly seemed unknown to the driver, he finds himself torn between passion and violence and is almost unable to decipher the difference between. Winding Refn picks at those heated moments in life that get our blood rushing and juxtasposes passion with violene in more than a few unexpected scenes. Those almost sickly and gruesome scenes where Gosling’s warm character turns into a violent mess are those that are most telling of the moody and dark film that is Drive.
** In the scene below Gosling takes us from an award winning kiss to the most gruesome scene of 2011. These two conflicting feelings best reflect the tone of the film in its enitrety, but be warned!! **