04 March 2012

Movies: Drive

Drive (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0780504/

Thriller

A part-time Hollywood stunt driver works in a garage repairing cars by day and moonlights as a driver-for-hire for less-than legal endeavors. He becomes enamored with an apartment neighbor (Irene) and begins to develop a relationship with her and her son. This is despite knowing that Irene's husband (Standard) is in prison. After Standard's release from prison of course there is some uncomfortable tension. However the driver comes upon a severely beat-up Standard in the parking garage and finds out Standard owes a lot of money to the guys that protected him while he was in prison. They want Standard to rob a particular pawn shop to pay off the debt, otherwise they will go after his family. The driver offers to help. The robbery goes wrong and now the driver is in the middle of a situation much bigger than just a prison protection racket.

Stars Ryan Gosling as Driver (that's his character's credited name, honest). Carey Mulligan plays Irene, I've seen her before in "Never Let Me Go" and a "Doctor Who" episode. The cast also includes the awesome Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle), Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, curvy Christina Hendricks. Standard is played by Oscar Isaac. I've been seeing that guy a lot lately, specifically in "Agora", "Robin Hood" and "Sucker Punch", he's been quite a good supporting actor thus far.

This is a slow-burn thriller, patiently paced. It has some action, and does get quite violent at times, but it isn't a frenetic paced action-fest like "The Transporter". The story does have a bit of romance near the start of the film but don't despair. It is more to help define Driver's character and his motivations through the rest of the film. And just when you think you have Driver's character defined in your mind he exposes a bit more of what burns under his seemingly cool and reserved surface. I've heard people say they were disappointed because of the romance aspect, or they were expecting something like "The Fast and the Furious", and they quit watching the film. Well they missed out, then, because the best stuff happens after that. I do have to say, though, there's a lot less driving taking place in this film than one might infer from the title.

Filmed and produced well, decent story and a great cast. This film doesn't just prop up cardboard characters and knock 'em down until the film is over (coughTransportercough). Hey, I'm not knocking Transporter -- I enjoyed that film for exactly what it was. This film is of a different sort and they really shouldn't be compared.
All in all kind of refreshing.  Just remember - slow burn thriller - so probably not best if you're in an action flick mood.

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