Film Festival Today

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Film Review: “Drive”

Written by: FFT Webmaster | September 16th, 2011

* ***OUT OF 4

“Drive” is a highly stylized existential noir action drama which vaults to my short list for one of the “coolest’ movies of the year. The story is about a Hollywood stunt driver and mechanic, played intensely by Ryan Gosling, who drives get away cars (“a wheelman”) for heists by gangsters and thugs and is known by no name other than The Driver.  It is one of Gosling’s best performances and contains many poignant silent eye-content moments that create tension and introspection.

“Drive” was directed by the Danish-born, New York City raised Nicholas Winding Refn, known on the art-house circuit for “The Pusher Trilogy” and 2011 Sundance World Cinema nominee “Bronson”. Refn won the Best Director award at Cannes 2011 by blending both toughness and tenderness in “Drive” which is an adaptation by Hossein Amini (“The Wings of the Dove”) of a Los Angeles based novel by James Sallis. The steely cool grit of anarchy and mayhem gives form to this mostly episodic story.

The Driver makes friends with his attractive apartment neighbor Irene (Carrey Mulligan) and her young son, Benicio (Kaden Leos). But things get complicated and riskier when her husband Standard (Oscar Issac) is released from prison.  The Driver gets roped into a million dollar heist orchestrated by some Jewish gangsters played by Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks. As a producer of B movies, Brooks gives an amazing performance embodying evil and treachery while Perlman with his unique physiognomy is depicted as a cold-blooded killer.

The hold up gone bad and the car chases including some spectacular driving in reverse will put you on the edge of your seat.  The stunning cinematography by Thomas Siegel is picture perfect.   The sound track and sound design draw you into the experience in a compelling and exhilarating manner like no other movie I’ve seen this year.  This powerful motion picture deserves your attention.  Don’t miss it.

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