• 2011-11-03
  • By Laurence Boyce

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Causing something of a stir at the Cannes Film Festival where it received its world premiere, “Drive” is a throwback to the era of the ’80s action films where style always won out over substance. Here, there is some substance and an air of modern cynicism but this is stylish all the way. Slick, energetic and often breath-taking, this is action cinema done with amazing spirit and is without a doubt one of the coolest films of the year.

Ryan Gosling plays the titular driver – he’s never named – who is a Hollywood stunt driver by day and getaway driver by night. Usually content to stay a mysterious loner, the driver finds himself falling for the beautiful Irene (Carey Mulligan). But when he takes a job to help Irene and her son, he discovers that it’s a set up and he’s soon fighting for his and Irene’s life in the urban jungle.

This may be stealing liberally of many films, such as those directed by Michael “Heat”/“Miami Vice” Mann who seems to be a massive influence of Refn – but as it does it so well, it doesn’t really matter if you’ve seen it all before. From the glossy cinematography, which makes LA a dazzling spectacle, to the relentlessly amazing soundtrack, everything in here just works perfectly. Gosling is perfect in the lead, though Mulligan is no slouch in the acting department either, and everything just moves along at a brilliantly intense pace.

There are a few moments of violence that might put of some more sensitive members of the audience, but those wanting to experience a glorious throwback to the excesses and joys of American cinema from a few decades previously, it’s almost a perfect experience.

Just sit back and enjoy the rife as “Drive” takes you on a journey that you’ll never want to end.


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