Mike Goes to the Movies…At Home — Drive

In my last “Mike Goes to the Movies,” I mentioned my affinity for seeing movies on the big screen. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible or economical for an out-of-state college student on a budget. Fortunately, however, I work at a movie rental store and basically get all my rentals for free. This allows me to rent a nearly endless string of new releases that I missed in theaters and watch them on this bad boy…

The Man Cove

42″ 1080P plasma. Absolutely essential for someone who enjoys movies as much as I do. Basically, I pop a chair up about five feet away and it’s like being in a theater without paying for sticky aisles and screaming children…and the popcorn and soda cost less than $1!

Enough about my awesome home theater setup. Let’s get on with the movie. Today’s flick under scrutiny is Drive, a weird hybrid of the revenge/super-violent/80’s nostalgia genres. Actually, all of those just describe Tarantino movies, which is exactly what Drive feels like for much of its 100-minute runtime.

The plot is pretty simple. By day, the creatively named Driver, played by the impossibly-perfect-looking-even-when-beating-the-crap-out-of-people Ryan Gosling, is a stunt driver for Hollywood. By night, however, Driver gets his adrenaline kick by providing his extraordinary driving talents to criminals who need a quick and proficient getaway from a crime scene.

Ryan Gosling: Creating impossibly high expectations for men everywhere.

The plot begins to escalate when Gosling falls for Irene, the wife of a soon-to-be released convict. Irene also has a child, Benicio, by the convict, who Driver develops paternal emotions for during his triste. When Irene’s husband, Standard, is released from prison, it quickly becomes apparent that he’s still involved with a group of violent and dangerous mobsters. In order to protect Irene and her child from the mobsters, Driver decides to help Standard settle his mob debt and end his involvement with the gang by providing his driving services for one final heist.

Without spoiling too much of the remainder of the plot, the heist goes terribly awry and Driver becomes linked to the crime, becoming the primary target of the mobsters. The rest of the film follows Driver as he fights to survive while also protecting Irene and Benicio from the syndicate of criminals. This part of the movie is definitely not for the faint of heart or squeamish. The fight scenes and mobster killings are beyond brutal and bloody but certainly add to the mystique of both Driver and the host of mobsters tailing him.

Gosling plays Driver as a natural loner, albeit a fiercely loyal one to those he cares about. He’s cool, calculating, and quiet. So quiet, in fact, that Gosling has no more than maybe a dozen lines throughout the entire movie. His soft-spoken demeanor makes his violent outbursts of emotion all the more jarring. One moment he’s calmly speaking with Irene and the next he’s pummeling a guy’s face in. He’s the epitome of bottled dangerousness, always threatening to explode in a flash of violence and brutality.

The rest of the cast does a great job, with Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks portraying the ringleaders of the mobster group, unmercifully carrying out their killings in grandeur manners (Brooks kills a guy with a fork at one point). The pacing for the movie is great, remaining tense and moving from one action scene to another flawlessly, always keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat with adrenaline.

My only complaint with the movie is that it follows the 80s neo-noir gangster movies almost to the point of becoming a flaw. Drive tries so hard to be cool that it lacks substance in a few of its scenes and characters. It’s difficult to connect with Driver at certain points simply because he’s so erratic and machinated.

With that said, Drive is a cool movie. Its scenes ooze with Tarantino flair and the violence stacks up with some of the best gangster movies. Gosling certainly shows his versatility with Driver, displaying the calm, suave guy that he portrays in most of his movies, along with a violent dangerousness that we haven’t seen from him before.

Drive is definitely worth the watch, especially for any Tarantino or 80s movie junkies out there. This one gets a solid 9/10 from one of those self-anointed junkies.

On a semi-side note, the soundtrack for the movie is fantastic. Check out this sonic gem from Kavinsky and Lovefoxxx that plays during the opening scene.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Mike Goes to the Movies…At Home — Drive”
  1. claratsi says:

    great review. glad to find yet another drive fan!
    good call on the home theatre set up too, the bigger the better!

  2. Great review! Totally agree! Keep up the good work. Why is that song Nightcall so damn addictive?

  3. I thought Drive was awesome, and I was kinda pissed it did not get at least one nomination this year from the Academy. First time to your blog, keep up the good work. The soundtrack is top shelf, the movie just felt like you were watching GTA or something…If you geta cahnce check out my blog…bad spelling be warned. Take Care

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