There may not be a movie this year that I am more conflicted about, other than Drive. It’s a clear metaphor that a car can sit idle at one moment, then be screaming out of control at another. That’s the feeling you get from this movie.
Ryan Gosling plays a character with no name other than “Driver.” He’s a Hollywood stunt driver by day and a hired getaway driver by night. He’s got deep emotions, but we don’t know where they come from. He plays the solitary loner. That is, until he meets and falls for his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan.) Just released from prison, Irene’s husband has a debt to pay off. In trying to protect Irene, the driver chooses to help the husband pull off a heist that spins out of control.
This movie has all the elements of greatness. There is real tension, a great cast and a relentless craving for it’s deeper meaning. This is a brilliant assembly of talent. Gosling and Mulligan are pros in their own right, but the additions of Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman and Christina Hendricks is near genius. I just couldn’t get on board with the pacing of it all. We go through long portions of the film with very little dialogue or action, which is juxtaposed by moments of extreme violence and heart pounding car chase scenes.
In the moments of action, Drive is very effective in putting you right in the passenger seat, exactly where you should be. It’s fast and furious without the steroid injected bravado of the current fast car genre. This is all to say that Drive may be a better movie for what it is not. That’s commendable, but it didn’t feel complete to me.
I can also say that this movie drew out more of a internal reaction in myself than anything else I’ve seen this year. The problem is, it wasn’t always a positive reaction.