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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 29 January 2015
Real score: 5 stars
Adjusted for Amazon reviewers getting it wrong: Many got it wrong but I can't score it any higher, so 5 stars.

I watched this film a second time recently. On this viewing I was almost sober and so I have a much better idea of what I loved about the film so much the first time round.

Firstly, I actually have a criticism from this viewing. The relationship between Irene and the Driver seems stilted, and frankly quite vapid. I found myself on the very edge of beginning to switch off in the period between Irene and her child being driven home from the mechanic's to their home and the little detour that entails up until the point where Standard returns. The chemistry seemed too clinical and distant, consisting mostly of some longing looks and sheepish grins with trendy (admittedly great but still trendy) music playing in the background.

I think that is the worst criticism I can muster, and I've almost certainly exaggerated its effect by isolating it. Other than this very specific fault I think the movie may be flawless. It's like an updated Blade Runner; neo-noir, tinged with the flashy neon-soaked glamour of the eighties and dystopian futurism (neon-noir, if you like). Like the second Godfather movie it portrays crime as something that doesn't pay, something that is dirty and soul-destroying, but which clearly once had its glory day. In many ways it is also a film about movies; the excitement and wonder of car-chases which are played out on screen and in reality by the Driver, but also the exploitative and seedy side, the money men behind the films of the eighties who saw it as another way of making money, along with drugs and violence. The Driver himself is both a heroic action figure and a jaded mentally disturbed criminal who has grown up in a country where the huge back catalogue of fifties noir and seventies and eighties action movies are embedded in the national psyche. We're not talking about Taxi Driver, where Travis Bickle, driving around the rain slicked streets of New York, sees himself as some avenging angel. We're talking about someone who is a real life hero who is designed for his environment, but who struggles to stay ahead, right up until the ambiguous ending, and who has to resort to some of the methods and extremities of his opposition to survive. He really lives what Travis Bickle wants to live, but in a brilliantly post-modern way this is no longer acceptable in "mainstream" society, as can be seen by Irene's reaction after the scene in the lift. It's as if the Driver is aware of both the fictional world he lives in while simultaneously being aware of the real world; like if, in Commando, Schwarzenegger suddenly took stock of the body-count and had a mental breakdown.

Asides from the philosophical fallout of the film, the style involved in bringing it to the screen is unbelievably slick and cool: the opening scene is even more brilliant than I first thought, even excepting the soundtrack; the beach scene is unbelievable; the build up of tension in the pawn shop heist; the massive contrast in every violent act that takes place in the film, between sensuality/beauty/calm and sudden and explosive violence. It is a film where we feel every violent experience, as does the Driver, as he begins wandering the streets in an increasingly bloodied silver jacket. In a atmosphere where we are increasingly told we are becoming desensitised, there is a gut response to every violent act here.

Lastly, in terms of the neo-noir elements, its nice to see a film as convoluted and complex as some of the noirs of old. Along with the Driver himself we often have very little idea what is going on, who is behind various actions and what their motivation is. This is never more obvious than in the aftermath of the pawn shop heist. Having seen the film twice I'm still not entirely sure about what happened.

Of course this review is in danger of become as rambling as I was trying to avoid. Suffice to say, Drive now has a firm place in my top ten or fifteen favourite films.
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on 13 February 2012
With the title "Drive" and the tag line "Get in. Get Out. Get Away" one could be forgiven for thinking that this was a fast paced heist movie focused on long car chase get-away sequences. It isn't. Less 'Fast and Furious' and more 'Subdued and Serious'. The film starts with a getaway drive that rather sets the tone of the film; our driver says very little and only picks up the pace if cornered at which point he can and will do whatever he has to.

Arguably our driver is either mysterious or astonishingly lacking substance; new to an apartment he quickly develops a bond with his neighbour. When the neighbours husband needs a favour things go terribly wrong, and with the driver's life threatened, but more importantly the neighbour and her child's life threatened, driver does everything he has to to keep them safe. At times this gets very gory, and there are those who will question the need to be quite so graphic. Drive does not glorify violence by any means, but does tell us a lot about Driver whose quiet demeanour could otherwise be mistaken for passive or apathetic.

Pros:
- Stunning visuals and sound. Fans of 80's Michael Mann films will be happy in this respect.
- A serious and engaging story for the more patient viewer.

Cons:
- Many will be put off by the graphic violence. Some will say it is unnecessary, although probably most will disagree.
- What for many will be an interesting albeit quiet protagonist, will for others be soulless and borderline sociopathic.

Bottom Line:
- Engaging and stylish for the patient.
- Tedious and one dimensional for the impatient.
- Horrific for those with weaker constitutions.
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on 23 October 2011
Ryan Gosling plays a stunt driver who supplements his income by driving getaways. The extended opening sequence is a brilliantly tense depiction of what this entails and why he has the reputation for being so good at it.

However, just as it appears that he might be getting a break to the (legitimate) big time, with an opportunity to drive racing cars for a new team being set up by his boss, Bryan Cranston, and funded by two shady businessmen, played with sublime menace by Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman, Gosling's character falls in love with his neighbour, Carey Mulligan, a young mother with a husband in prison. When the husband is released it transpires that he owes a lot of money to unnamed mobsters and is required to pull a robbery to pay this off. Hence Gosling agrees to do the proverbial "one last job" to help the family.

Of course all double-crossing hell breaks loose.

This movie pulls together a number of "retro" elements - much of the lighting, styling and soundtrack in the movie are reminicent of the Miami Vice tv series, the plot is straight from 1940's film noir, Gosling's unnamed man of few words refers to Clint Eastwood's signature Sergio Leone roles - to make something quite original - with startlingly graphic violence.

It is true that much of this is actually off-screen but the sound of breaking bones and collapsing faces is distressing enough. This verges on the gratuitious, but, I think, remains just on the right side of the line as it is used by the director to build tension by putting into the mind of the viewers what will become of the protagonist and those he loves should they fall prey to the mobsters who have set much of the plot in motion.

That these characters matter to the viewer is a particular achievement of the film, which spends a leisurely time building the love-story element before unleasing the dogs of mob-war on the characters. At its surprisingly romantic heart the "drive" of the title perhaps refers less to the job the protagonist does and more what motivates - "drives" - him, that is love, to endure the dangers and horrors he encounters in the course of the movie.

In summary then a very fine, on occassion unbearably tense and original thriller, but viewers will require a strong stomach, and perhaps ear plugs, during some of the scenes of violence.
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on 16 November 2015
Fantabulous 70,s type film...As i do Like Ryan Gosling in all his films, This is so different to his NOTE BOOK Sweet guy, hehe...I Read some comments about this, Some were quite a put off but for me that makes me want to see for myself..As you,ll see some reviews about brutal nasty part of it. Bad unbelievable back grown viscous noise,s..I,m a women and iv,e seen a lot i mean a lot worse than this.
Great acting, Great for you if like like a good adult film WITHOUT Sex, Yes" Atlast...haha...
Glad i bought this from Amazon.
Kitty, Wirral.
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on 15 December 2016
AUDIO: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, English LPCM 2.0
SUBTITLES: English HoH
RUNTIME: 100:31 mins.
ASPECT RATIO: 2.35:1
REGION: B (locked)
EXTRAS: Q&A with Director Nicolas Winding Refn Interview (40:59), Photo slideshow (2:11), Theatrical trailer (1:57), TV spot (1:02), Unrelated Trailer // Total: 46:09 mins.

Video Quality: * * * * * / * * * * *
Audio Quality: * * * * * / * * * * *

And just when you think Hollywood died from running out of ideas, there's one surprisingly superior film coming out that will just surprise you.
DRIVE was that film in 2011. Director Nicholas Winding Refn, who made masterpieces such as VALHALLA RISING and ONLY GOD FORGIVES delivered his best work here, starring a superb Ryan Gosling in the lead role as the getaway driver. Winding Refn's style reminds me of good old Sam Peckinpah and Takeshi Kitano, calm story telling with sudden explosions of extreme and shocking violence which sometimes comes out of the blue...
Winding Refn's films are not for everyone's taste - neither are Peckinpah's and Kitano's works. They are slow-paced and require a tremendous amount of patience but are very rewarding and gripping for those willing enough to do without much action.
DRIVE is presented in an 80's style visual, reminiscent of Michael Mann's films of that era. The story is very gripping, but the character remain one-dimensional and superficial, but this is intended, since the story owes much credit to Walter Hill's THE DRIVER (1978).
People that dislike on-screen violence should avoid DRIVE. It is extremely violent in some (brief) scenes.
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on 10 December 2016
An awesome stylish, film with special praise deserved for it's sound design and cinematography. Ignore the cover and marketing, this isn't some dumb cheesy action flick about bank robbing and car chases. The film focuses on an unnamed character simply known as ' the driver' who is unwillingly drawn into a violent world in order to protect an innocent family from harm. His quiet self assured manner channels older action stars like Clint Eastwood and Sylvester Stallone. A cold fury lies underneath their calm surface.
The relationship between the kid and his neighbour is very sweet, there's a kind of purity too it and it's all conveyed with minimal dialogue, when he visits the strip club it's to commit an act of violence. The director understands quite well the connection between the two and the kind of story he wants to tell. Ryan Gosling has a silent reassuring presence and was perfectly cast in his role, Bryan Cranston was brilliant as always.
The editing of the film is very slick, the lighting is well thought out, LA at night-time looks gorgeous, plus the euro pop throw back music and costume design give it a slighter retro feel, deliberately I imagine. I only bought the DVD of this but was very happy with the picture and sound quality, the film is widescreen rather than full screen. My only issue with the film is that the plot is very very simple and the pacing is quite slow at points but I'd argue without ever dragging. In some ways the film has many similarities with the western Shane.
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VINE VOICEon 17 October 2011
This is nothing like a Fast And Furious or Transporter movie so anybody expecting that will be very dissapointed. Drive is a modern film noir about a hollywood stuntman with no name who also acts as a getaway driver for the mob. Ryan Gosling is one of the hottest actors around at the moment and it's very easy to see why here, with a performance that echoes Steve Mc.Queen especially when he's behnd the wheel. Albert Brooks, perhaps best known as the father in Finding Nemo is very menacing as a mob boss as is Ron Perlman as his henchman and there's solid support from Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston and Carey Mulligan. It's a very brutal film with some scenes not for the sqeemmish. A very well shot film and with some excellent driving scenes and car chases, this is also a very intelligent film with a lot of heart too. Absolutely brilliant.
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on 9 April 2012
Great film? Shallow, derivative genre piece? At times, watching 'Drive', it's really hard to say. I've watched it twice now, once on a tiny seat-back screen on BA, again at home on widescreen. Both times I found it utterly engrossing, despite manifold flaws - or questionable decisions at least - in tone, casting and plot. Second time around, I wondered if Ryan Gosling was the weak link - the absence of dialogue (as action heroes go, he's very much the strong silent type) is fine, but that half-smirk starts to grate after a while, making him seem more of a puppet than I'm sure was intended. Carey Mulligan is becoming a great screen presence, and plays the part well, but is she right for the role? Why is she so sweet, so emotionally neutral, in the midst of all this? I'm not sure that I believe her. Then the episodes of ultraviolence... not entirely gratuitous, but maybe just a little too much, tipping over into gore-porn?

The scene in the elevator is truly ghastly, and brings these concerns together. Do we have to see that? And would Gosling's character really behave that way? Yet it's a critical scene in the movie too... his sweaty, guilty pallor as he turns away to look at Mulligan's terrified, horrified face brings out something in his character that's only been alluded to previously - that he's a man with a past about which we know little, but which probably ain't pretty. Those nerveless driving skills didn't come from nowhere, and, married to the bum job and the cheap apartment, the lonely, friendless existence, it all seems to suggest witness protection, or at least a powerful need to maintain a low profile. Masks figure at both ends of the film - this is a man who is Not All He Seems.

So more than a violently intelligent, hard-boiled B-movie of the old school? It certainly resonates more than that description would suggest - it's fascinating for the sheer number of influences that get wrapped up into what is at heart a pretty straightforward heist-gone-wrong movie. At random, I was thinking about Eastwood, Bogart, Tarantino of course, Walter Hill, Taxi Driver... in fact, you can go a lot further back than that and see Gosling's character in the ancient tradition of the knight in shining armour (the silver jacket and car) defending the fair lady (their relationship is certainly chaste and courtly enough). It's a cineaste's movie, for sure, but it's not sterile in the way such movies often are - more, it's a fan's movie, and reminded me of nothing so much as Reservoir Dogs [DVD]- the low budget, the visceral, bloody impact, the existential absence of any real context, the sense of visual style... If you liked Reservoir Dogs, but have reservations about everything else Tarantino has done since, this may well be the movie for you.

So 4 stars - not so much for greatness (I'm still not sure) but for being a) not boring b) always challenging c) a relentlessly involving watch.
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on 26 August 2015
This is a good watch if you like quiet thrillers. Very little dialogue between the main character and supporting cast but it works fine as it makes Ryan one of those silent but deadly types. Don't be fooled by the slow start as the story does develop and there's enough gore and action to suffice those looking for a harder edge. The ending was a tad "see it coming" but not horrible. Definitely worth a look.
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on 26 May 2016
Look at the immediate background scenery behind Kid (Ryan Gosling) and Irene (Carey Mulligan) and you'll notice how tenderly NWR paints Irene as a princess and Kid as a cold, distant, tragic violent man. Kid knows he and Irene could never be, but he dearly loved briefly being a part of Irene's life inside of a fairytale. Their shared kiss in the elevator is an literally bright highlight. (Albert Brooks) yet again displays his sharp intelligence this time as Bernie Rose. Right from their first meeting, Kid and Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) recognise each other as killers. Each of them instinctively knowing the unavoidable outcome of their entwined fates, yet each of them seemingly unable to break free. Drive is an adult romantic fairytale with hidden depths, where the hero: Kid, saves the princess and rides off becoming immortal. Composer Cliff Martinez's score is up there with his best works. A masterpiece.
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