Drive (4 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn
Written by: Hossein Amini
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perelman, and Albert Brooks
This film takes the audience on a journey centered around a character (nameless) who is referred to as Driver (Ryan Gosling) is both a a stunt driver in movies, and a hired driver for illegal activity. Gosling meets and starts to get his next door neighbor Irene (Mulligan) who has a child from a husband in jail. Gosling also works for Shannon an automechanic who connects Driver with the darker side of his life, and some mob connections namely two men named Bernie and Nino (Brooks and Perelman).
Without giving the entire plot away this film's pacing had me hooked. Amini's script used more action, emotional context, and facial expressions than dialogue to convey the heft and gravity of this film. Gosling did a great job showing that through using his face to explain the story rather than conveying things through words. In regards to acting Albert Brooks stepped up his game play a funny yet dark mob boss. Brooks great one liners helped balance out his loathesome qualities to make this character more than just one dimensional.
The director, Nicolas Winding Refn, is the star of this film his use of style and gritty drama helps bring this film to a much deeper level than the more recent care dramas. Refn knows how to use the sceneary of Los Angeles as the back drop, and it almost feels like a character within the film. Refn was named Best Director at the Cannes film festival for a good reason; his craftsmenship carries this film to deeper more gripping levels. Newton Thomas Sigel the cinematographer also knows how to shoot LA, and makes it look ominous and beautiful to create the tone of the film. Cliff Martinez who put together the score and music for the film gave this film a classic, and by classic I mean 80s tone that suits the film brilliantly and quote that Brooks has in the film "I made action movies in the 80s everyone said were great I thought they were shit."
I think the film could have developed more with the love interest characteristics between Irene and Driver, and I would have liked to seen more Christina Hendricks, but I think the pacing of the film allowed a gripping build-up towards the gripping and winding conclusion. This film is not typical so do not go in expecting the normal popcorn fair, and thats what makes this movie better than others.