Movie Review: Drive

By Stephen Rebello

Ryan Gosling's latest is a classic in the making.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn Rating: R Studio: Odd Lot Entertainment

Drive stars Ryan Gosling as a loner with a toothpick constantly stuck inside his noncommittal smirk, a taciturn Hollywood stunt driver—a wheelman—who moonlights on getaway runs for the likes of a former movie producer turned crime boss (Albert Brooks in a killer performance). Gosling lets down his tough guy stance long enough to get deeply involved in the lives of a neighbor (Carey Mulligan), and her young son (Kaden Leos) just as the neighbor’s apparently no-good husband is being paroled and blackmailed into pulling a job he doesn’t want to do.

Set in a dreamlike, retro, damaged underground Los Angeles, the minimalist, brainy, deeply cool world of Drive is one of a heist gone wrong, nasty plot twists, random violence and propulsive action. It may not sound like the most original thing out there, but the movie is quirky, mordantly funny, hypnotically paced and brilliantly acted with humor, mystery and complexity by Gosling, with tasty support from Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks and Ron Perlman. It’s one of the great movies of the year, possibly a classic in the making—smartly adapted by Hossein Amini from James Sallis’s book and directed to perfection by Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson) who deservedly left the recent Cannes Film Festival with a best director award. There may not be much driving in Drive, but it’s the kind of tense, terse movie that even a Steve McQueen or Lee Marvin might be proud to have on his career resume.

About the Author

Playboy Contributing Editor Stephen Rebello has written many Playboy Interview and 20 Questions features. He is the author of such books as the notorious Bad Movies We Love (with Edward Margulies) and Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, the latter of which has inspired a dramatic feature film set for production in 2012. His most recent Playboy Interviews include Josh Brolin and Cameron Diaz.


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