Danish filmmaker Nicholas Winding Refn’s pulpy, nihilistic and mock-serious Drive – dripping with urban cool, self-conscious style, tone and moody atmosphere – both embraced and eschewed tropes and formulae of 70s exential thrillers. The way it harked back to that iconoclastic period, especially with its protagonist – a brooding, opaque, self-destructive, taciturn loner with a half-chance for redemption and an inherent penchant for violence – some have enthusiastically compared it to The Taxi Driver, though it’s perhaps closer to the likes of Point Blank, Bullitt, Get Carter, Sorcerer, etc.; however, instead of the grit, grime and edginess that the 70s popularized, this was smoother, polished and more in sync with the synth generation of 80s pop. The film’s laconic unnamed LA-based Driver (Ryan Gosling in a terrific turn that seemed like a throwback to Alain Delon), works as a stunt double and auto-mechanic by the day, while at night – and here the character, especially in his ability to skirt police chases through spectacular driving, was heavily inspired by the eponymous protagonist in Walter Hill’s The Driver – he takes jobs from the mob as their gateaway driver. His only friend and accomplice is a crippled auto shop owner (Bryan Cranston) dreaming big. His isolated existence, however, changes when he gets close to a vulnerable single mother (Carey Mulligan) and her young son; and when, to save a desperate scenario for them, he takes a rotten job which ends in disaster, his deadly doppelgänger, masked under his placid veneer, bursts forth to exact bloody payback. The scintillating chase sequence that the film begins with, the bursts of hyper-violence, the spare narrative and the moody electronic score, elevated this beyond just another B-movie or a pastiche.
Director: Nicholas Winding Refn
Genre: Thriller/Crime Thriller