Patrick Ward words, code, and music

Movie Review: Drive (2011)

In lieu of watching the Super Bowl last night, I watched the movie Drive, staring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, and the amazing Albert Brooks. I was blown away by this movie, not what I was expecting. It’s a stylistic, existential, “man with no name” movie in the spirit of Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy”. Only, instead of Clint Eastwood in the old west, we get an equally talented Ryan Gosling with cars, mobsters, and over the top violence. Gosling did a fantastic job. He has truly perfected the art of no-dilogue acting, something a less talented actor would not have been able to pull off.

There is a palpable tension throughout the movie, released only during driving scenes and sudden bouts of violence. But it works, it keeps you on the edge, wondering what will happen next. It fits the story, which is a parable in a way. Without giving away too much, I’ll just remind you to think of “The Scorpion and the Frog” while you watch this movie.

Thankfully, this movie didn’t turn out to be a typical Hollywood high-action car chase movie. It’s a smart, cinematic movie with a surprisingly excellent role reversal for Albert Brooks. Now, I’m a fan of Mr. Brooks comedic talents, but I have a new found respect for him as a villain now. He walks the line between his usual likeable character and the sadistic, cold-hearted mobster he turns out to be. It’s subtle though, like much of the other acting here. Cranston, Mulligan, and Perlman all shine and fit both their roles and the style of the movie perfectly. There isn’t any scene stealer, hyperbolic acting in this movie, which is a welcome change in today’s plastic movie going experiences.

If you’re a fan of cerebral, understated movies that aren’t carried on the backs of unnecessary action scenes and subpar acting, you’ll love this movie. But, for the action junkies, it has plenty of movie conflict when needed. I think it has classic written all over it, not unlike the classic “Bullit” with Steve McQueen.