By Jake Rivett
Refn is the director that kind of discovered Tom Hardy (Bane in the upcoming Batman movie) by casting him in super art film Bronson, and went completely bonkers on Valhalla Rising; a film about vikings sailing, and moving rocks.
The whole film is covered in a golden, Californian sunset glow, and the lighting and use of shadows are superb and at least one half of the impossibly good looking Ryan Gosling is shadowed at all times.
The entire feel is rounded of nicely with electro-pop and 80s style clothing, giving the whole thing a very retro feel.
The story concerns Gosling, a man of few words, a modern day man with no name (his name is never mentioned – he is simply referred to as ‘Driver’) but instead of a horse, he has his car.
He drives as a stuntman, works at a garage and helps crooks pull heists – all in a days work – then he falls for the beautifully plain Carey Mulligan as Irene, and gets to know her and her son.
Unlike the typical revenge tale, we get a twist at this point, in that Irene’s husband, who is involved with the mob, gets released from prison but don’t worry, I won’t give more away.
Not being a car fanatic, I was expecting technical specs and lots of car brands, but this does not happen. It’s more of a character study; long shots of Gosling driving with only small facial twitches giving away what he is thinking.
Drive is more of a love story with flashes of strong violence rather than the car-based action movie people want it to be.
It is served better like this; for the first half of the film you could be watching a quirky Ryan Gosling romcom, for the second half, you know you are not.