Slow, dreamy and extremely violent movie bravely finishes what has been called “a year of Gosling”.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan

Budget: 15 million | Box office: 60 million

IMDB: 8.2| Metacritic: 79

Drive, Ryan Gosling

I was really looking forward to this movie since it first jumped into attention after winning the best director prize in this years Cannes. Then there was praise from other festivals, somebody even naming 2011 as the “year of Gosling”. Ryan Gosling really did a tremendous job this year, appearing in three different but engaging movies: a comedy from I Love You Philip Morris directors Crazy, Stupid, Love, then George Clooney directed political drama Ides of March and now the surprisingly violent and at the same time slow and mellow thriller Drive.

Somebody named the movie “serious Fast Furious”, or “transporter”, but I don’t agree with that labels. Drive is more unique take on lonely stranger theme, with no fixed beginning and no end, just passing by. This time the hero is professional stunt driver, part time “working” as a getaway driver for crooks. The story is really a simple “boy meets girl” type, just this time the girl, charming Carey Mulligan, has a kid and a criminal husband, who after the jail time has to pay back his former “colleagues” and Gosling’s hero gets involved in all this nice and a bit twisted plot.

It’s a bit hard to describe a film style. It has a special feeling, created by long steady shots, lots of portraits, lighting, slow editing, which is really not usual for action movies, let alone driving movies. It develops slowly, gives time for characters and viewers to think and relax. And then it hits with violent scenes which strangely look not too overacted. It’s hard to pin it, but somehow for me it recalled The Sopranos or No Country for Old Men. It looks very natural ant that’s the most disturbing point.

The one thing which I didn’t really get was the soundtrack. I usually don’t pay very much attention to general soundtracks, but these purposefully gleeful electro synth tunes seemed really strange. For me it was OK as I liked such music earlier and together with cheeky title and credits font it gives kind of distorted impression. But I think some people might be really annoyed by that.

As to Drive chances in the awards season, as it stands alone it is a really great contender. The review scores at least give indication of that. But we have almost two months till the end of the year and some grand titles coming from the usual Academy favorites such as Eastwood’s J. Hoover, Scorsese’s Hugo and Spielberg’s War Horse. I really hope Drive will be not lost among the bigger pictures and at least Gosling will get some attention after his busy year.

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