Drive (Refn, 2011)
The driver’s swagger and confidence radiate from his calm, still demeanor as he gently grasps the toothpick between his teeth and with little flair or fashion uses wits to elude the cops in pursuit of his passengers. Is this man human? Can he really be a mere mortal? We see him stern and collected, never showing a hint of emotion – until he meets the girl. Ryan Gosling plays the driver, and Carey Mulligan the girl, and the two exude sweet innocence. For a moment the world only consists of their little ‘family’ (Mulligan’s character has a son) – staring contests, wordless smiles, stone skipping, and hand holding, all accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack and serene cinematography. The first 30-40 minutes of Refn’s film are pure cinematic bliss.
As peaceful as the first half was though, the second half is equally jarring. The driver is thrown into a situation much more dangerous than he anticipated and his reaction is shocking. From here the violent rampage begins and we learn much about this man’s desires, passions, and values. And through the violence we are treated to several uniquely stylized scenes including what could easily become known as the infamous elevator scene. What it all boils down to is that we are watching a strange and tragic love story, and it’s captivating. 9.5/10