Drive (based off a novel by James Sallis) follows a quiet, unassuming man who works as both a mechanic and movie stunt driver but moonlights as a getaway driver for various heists. His self-contained life is turned upside down however when he finds himself aiding his neighbour’s husband who has fallen in with dangerous company.
I had no idea what to expect from Drive, and from everyone demanding I see it you could say it was also hyped up! But the film’s first ten minutes had me hooked as we see an incredible but tense heist getaway perfectly executed. The film has a morose, moody feel to it, everything is muted and subtle around our hero as we experience his almost dream-like lifestyle, floating through life with little to no interest in others.
Known only as “Driver”, Ryan Gosling’s character barely speaks and, with some exceptions, neither do the rest of the cast, and I like that. The film is loaded with character and atmosphere, Gosling’s performance is incredibly subtle, betraying the character’s inner thoughts with little more than smirks and short dialogue. It gives you everything you need, but without having to explain with needless exposition.
But don’t be fooled, it isn’t all quiet and mellow; the film is of two halves as things go extremely south for our hero. I was alarmed at the sudden change of tone, and perhaps explaining it in a review would ruin the experience, but the film definitely flips everything on its head! It doesn’t feel jarring though, as an unsettled mood was always present initially.
It was a rare treat, and it has a great soundtrack that amplifies the moody city streets (a sort of modern, 80s retro sound) and I enjoyed it a lot! Some people may find the pacing and mood too slow or subtle, it certainly doesn’t shake the room, but if you want a sombre (but at times vicious!) character piece, you can’t go wrong here.