Drive (2011)

9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great cast, good story, cool look

Really violent for the squeamish

Movie Info

Movie Name: Drive

Studio: Bold Films

Genre(s): Drama/Action/Adventure/Romance

Release Date(s): September 16, 2011

MPAA Rating: R


I like you, but it is about to get really ugly for you

The driver (Ryan Gosling) works as a stuntman, a car repairer, and at night freelances as a getaway driver for a price and a commitment of a five minute window. When a mother named Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos) move in down the hall, the driver’s life changes direction. While working to become a professional driver for his boss Shannon (Bryan Cranston) and mobsters Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman), the driver becomes involved in a robbery involving Irene’s ex-con husband Standard (Oscar Isaac). Standard is killed in the robbery and now the driver discovers men are after him, Irene, and Benecio…a conflict that will lead him head-to-head with Bernie and Nino.

Nicholas Winding Refn directed Drive and turned it into a movie drawing heavily from ’80s films, but also containing aspects of ’70s films and modern film. The movie went through lots of changes in its production (it was once perceived as a big-screen blockbuster with Hugh Jackman as the star). It was critically well received with all the actors getting props for their performances. It was also seen as a big slight when Albert Brooks was not nominated for a Best Supporting Actor.


I’m really going to lose my deposit on this room

Drive is a strange movie. It is such a mesh of genres and styles that makes it a unique product in itself. The look and style feels like an ’80s movie, but it also at the same time it seems very modern. The interesting romance between the driver and Irene feels more real than many love stories and that even is turned on its side by the return of Irene’s husband from jail. Even the dynamic between Gosling and Isaac doesn’t go where you think it would.

A shocking aspect of Drive is how violent it is…I think it kind of surpasses the ’80s movies it is kind of emulating. There were a number of scenes in the movie that “holy crap!” moments. Be it Christina Hendricks close range run in with a shotgun or Gosling cutting lose on a mobster in the elevator (which was actually cut down for ratings), Drive can get pretty bloody.


Oops, my bad!

All the actors do a great job. Gosling does a great job being both creepy and trusting and his almost unspoken relationship with Mulligan allows her to once again demonstrate that she is a real up-and-comer. Albert Brooks’ turn as the psychopathic but remorseful Bernie shows more range that he’s usually allowed also. I’m not a huge fan of Ron Perlman. His parts seemed a bit forced and he seemed like the weak link in the movie. He’s ok in things like Hellboy or even City of Lost Children but here he feels out of his league.

Drive is an interesting and good film that really exceeds expectations. What could have been a cheap straight-to-video thriller turned into a real cinematic film that pushes the limits. It isn’t for the squeamish and what starts out as a nice right turns into something very nasty…you have to be ready for that if you want to take the ride…and no, The Cars’ “Drive” doesn’t factor into the pumping soundtrack.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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