Drive stars Ryan Gosling as "The Driver", a somewhat gormless young man who doesn't say much and takes ages to answer people's questions. He works as a stunt driver by day, but at night works as a getaway driver, promising to help people escape the police provided they turn up within a five minute period. He is professional, a perfectionist, and he never works for the same person twice. In his down time he gets to know his neighbour, Irene (Carey Mulligan), and while helping her husband out of a little bit of trouble, The Driver gets caught up in a shit storm involving local gangsters, and finds he has to get away himself.
Drive is a very stylish movie. The director, Nicholas Winding Refn, also directed Bronson a couple of years ago, and some of the shots in that movie were absolutely amazing. There's no difference here. The camera is always used to its full effect, with lingering shots just where they need to be, and the opening sequence introducing us to The Driver is awesomely shot. The interior shots while he's driving the car actually made me want to be there with him, feeling the suspense mingled with the purr of the engine.
The characters are all pretty well done too. The gangsters are very threatening as the situation worsens, and The Driver's boss is played pretty damn well by Bryan Cranston. The only bad point with this movie, I feel, is with Gosling's character. As I mentioned before, he doesn't say a whole lot. Maybe that's the point, but when people are talking to him and he takes ages to answer them, it's a wonder why they don't say "Why are you just standing there looking at me, asshole?" Still, Gosling shows emotion where he needs to, and his character actually goes through a very radical change.
We start off with the meticulous, professional driver, never taking any chances and making sure the job gets done right. But as things start to go wrong and people start coming after him, The Driver's true instincts come to the surface. There is some intense violence towards the end, which really exposes The Driver as a man who must stay alive and protect the ones he needs to, no matter what. Without that progression it feels like the entire movie would have fallen quite flat.
Drive is a very entertaining movie. It's beautifully shot, the story and character progression is wonderful, and despite some woodenness from the cast, it's all very well pulled together.
My rating: 4/5