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DRIVE Movie Review By Rama

DRIVE Movie Review
By: Rama

So what did Ramascreen think of Drive? Come read his review and see what he thought of the movie. Please make sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

DRIVE is the best gangster film since The Departed. Ryan Gosling’s performance is reminiscent of young Robert DeNiro when he ruled the ’70s cinema and his character is very much like one of those Samurai warriors who live and die by their code of honor. DRIVE is like Scorsese meets Bullit with music ala Bret Easton Ellis’ adaptations. Beautifully shot, director Nicolas Winding Refn has found his latest masterpiece, an instant classic. DRIVE is simply the best film of 2011..

Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can’t help falling in love with his beautiful neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac).
After a heist intended to pay off Standard’s protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defense for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman). But when he realizes that the gangsters are after more than the bag of cash in his trunk-that they’re coming straight for Irene and her son-Driver is forced to shift gears and go on offense.

DRIVE is the movie that needs to be talked about when award season comes around again. First off, if you’ve seen the movies Bronson and Valhalla Rising, you’d notice that those are 2 very well-directed films, 2 very violent but artistic films, both helmed by Refn. In DRIVE, Refn crafts a very unique and harsh portrayal of the underground world of L.A. The killings in this film are so brutal and shocking, they give Scarface a run for its money.

The cinematography of DRIVE is just as excellent, Newton Thomas Sigel seems to pay some kind of tribute to Michael Mann but he also puts his own spin on it. There’s an elevator scene that I think will become this film’s iconic scene and it’s choreographed in a very artistic yet bloody manner. That whole sequence is the story’s pinnacle point, where the hero faces the fact that as much he’d like to, he’ll never get to be with the girl, and the girl for the first time encounters who the real hero is and how far he’d go to fight for her.
There’s only a few car chase scenes in DRIVE, so if you hope to see something like the ones that The French Connection or Ronin offered, you might have to lower your expectations a bit. The very few chases that DRIVE has are thrilling and dangerous enough but they’re not the heart of the story, they exists more or less just to showcase the driver’s skills.

DRIVE is modern day noir that’s calm and deadly at the same time. One of the things that stand out is the pop soundtrack that doesn’t necessarily sound retro but it sounds like it could come from an era that some of us grew up with. One particular song “A Real Hero” by College feat. Electric Youth is one that will stay in your head for days and it captures the essence of Ryan Gosling’s character, an embodiment of a genuine hero, a man of a few words, soft spoken, a loner, but firm, determined, and putting others before himself, he even doesn’t care what happens to himself as long as the girl and her husband and their kid are safe. In them he finds a reason to fight and die for.

But he’s not perfect, his line of job is evidence of that, which makes Gosling’s character, simply named Driver, is someone you can easily root for.

Gosling is a fantastic, solid actor who’s proven himself one more than one occasion, it’s sad that he has to continue to live with media and people labeling him as ‘The Notebook’ dude.

There’s a bit of revenge, there’s a bit of gangster, there’s a bit of romance that’s not meant to be, there’s a bit of heroism, there’s a bit of tragic humor, DRIVE combines all those elements perfectly.
It doesn’t have VFX or CG, it’s just old skool hardcore filmmaking that goes straight for the jugular.
I think it should get nominated for best script, best directing, best picture, best cinematography, best actor and best supporting actor nods for both Bryan Cranston who plays Gosling’s character’s loose cannon mentor and for Albert Brooks who does a surprisingly outstanding job as the mob head, the villain. Nobody thought Brooks had what it would take to play this role but he knocks it out of the park. A short tempered, cold-hearted man, someone you don’t f*ck with, someone who’s not afraid to get dirty if it means getting the job done. Brooks’ sinister performance is the stuff of cinematic legends.

GRADE: 5 out of 5

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