Riding in Cars with Ryan Gosling
Drive (2011) Director: Nicolas Winding Refin. Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks. Rating: R for cussing, naked boobs, and blood spurting violence.
Do you like going really fast? Do you own a car and some cool driving gloves? Enjoy breaking laws? Well you my friend have all of the qualifications to be a getaway driver, like the protagonist in the 2011 drama Drive!
In the world of crime movies, being a “driver” (the person who chauffeurs criminals to and from their various illegal activities) is the coolest job you can have in the bad guy biz. It’s highly lucrative, the hours are pretty good, and you don’t have to wear a ski mask. Those things take “hat hair” to a whole new level, believe you me.
Time Magazine’s Coolest Person of the Year Ryan Gosling plays an enigmatic man with no name who wears a white satin jacket that looks like it was purchased at that store in the mall that sells throwing stars and ninja swords:
A mechanic/movie stunt driver by day and a getaway car driver by night, “Driver,” as he’s referred to in the credits, is a man of few words. We’re talking very few words. Seriously, he makes Silent Bob look like a livestock auctioneer.
Our nearly mute hero works in a garage owned by Shannon (Bryan Cranston), who gets him stunt gigs for movies and arranges his unlawful nighttime activities as well. Shannon introduces Driver to local crime boss Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks. Yes, Albert Brooks!) who agrees to sponsor Shannon’s stock car with Driver at the wheel, because murderous loan sharks are the perfect guys to go into business with.
Driver befriends his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan, an actress who looks like she’s about to burst into tears at any moment) a single Mom who’s ex-con husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) needs to pay off protection money to a local thug or else Irene and his son Benicio are in for a world of hurt. He agrees to help Standard pull off a robbery, and before you can say “don’t do it, Time Magazine’s Coolest Person of the Year” things go impossibly wrong, and Driver finds himself in deep trouble with Bernie and his sleazy brother Nino (Ron Perlman, the hardest working man in showbiz) who want to eliminate Driver and everyone he knows because as I stated before murderous loan sharks are the perfect guys to go into business with! It’s up to the lone driver to make things right and save the girl before she’s sleeping with the fishes.
Drive is a very slick and enjoyable thriller done in the spirit of Michael Mann’s seminal 80’s series Miami Vice, minus the pastel t-shirts and Phillip Michael Thomas. There’s a few brief flashes of gory violence in the movie, but it’s integral to the story. The movie also had some gratuitous nudity that’s not integral to the story, but I’ll allow it because it’s gratuitous nudity. I’m single and I get about as much action as a Quaker. Don’t judge me.