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Drive [Celluloid Hero]


Drive (2011)


Occasionally, all the aspects of a movie just click, from the writing and directing, to the acting, to the cinematography, to the soundtrack. “Drive” is one of those movies.

Ryan Gosling plays an enigmatic “hero”, working as a mechanic / movie stunt driver / getaway driver. He has a strict moral code that he stands by, focusing on “right vs. wrong” as opposed to “legal vs. illegal” and sticking to those ideals. However, just like in real life, when a woman comes into his life he is faced with a dilemma. Add in some mobsters and a load of cash, and he has to make some serious decisions.

The cast is great. Ryan Gosling isn’t given many lines, but is able to display a pretty solid range of emotions with his face and body language. Most of the interaction between the driver and the girl (Carey Mulligan) is played that way, non-verbal communication taking the lead over spoken word. The rest of the cast (Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston) were all excellent. Brooks nails a rare dramatic role, Perlman is always great as a heavy, and Cranston is a hit as well.

There is an unexpected (to me) turn halfway through, as Gosling’s character gets deeper into the problem and strays further from his code. There is some pretty graphic violence; I’m pretty desensitized to blood and gore, but some of it still shocked me because of the content itself.

The soundtrack is also notable. I have a weakness for electronic music, I must admit. The soundtrack has a very ’80s vibe, despite having no songs released prior to 2007. Even beyond the songs, the instrumental score was very digital and pulsating, creating a nice tense feel throughout the movie.


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On the Celluloid  Hero scale, “Drive” get a 9 out of 10.

[Each week, Varacchi explores cinema from his own perspective. From indie to foreign to mainstream, he’ll watch it all. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome, leave a comment below. CLICK HERE for the Celluloid Hero archives]

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