The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Hypnotic action in Drive pulls gangster, road movies together

The driver (Ryan Gosling, right) waits to ambush a hit man in the first in a series of confrontations in the film Drive. Photo courtesy FilmDistrict
The driver (Ryan Gosling, right) waits to ambush a hit man in the first in a series of confrontations in the film Drive. Photo courtesy FilmDistrict

By Joshua Knopp/managing editor

Drive is one of the best and most magnetic films of 2011.

The movie walks its audience through one of the presumably many adventures of its main character (Ryan Gosling), a nameless, insomniac protagonist who makes a living performing a wide variety of tasks behind the wheel of a car. During the film, he is seen working as a mechanic, a stunt driver, a race car driver and a getaway driver.

In this adventure, the driver meets and forms an attachment to a neighboring mother and son (Carey Mulligan, Kaden Leos) just before their husband/father, Standard (Oscar Isaac) gets out of prison. 

Standard is immediately forced into an armed robbery by gangsters who protected him in prison, and when they threaten his family, the driver lends his aid. The robbery goes wrong, and the driver is forced to kill an entire mob to keep the family safe.

At the core of this movie is the acting. Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman were born to play mobsters, and Mulligan is always excellent. Gosling’s characterization is the film’s heart. He doesn’t sleep, rarely speaks and, though he participates in it, violence doesn’t seem to come naturally to him.

He does one thing well, loves to do it and puts himself in a position to do it as often as possible.

The story is told around this love of driving. In multiple shots, the driver is portrayed as driving for no apparent reason. When given activities open to wide interpretation, such as a date, he makes driving the focal point of the activity. The slow relaxation the driver receives from his wanderings is projected onto the audience in the film’s unique hypnotic tone.

Drive is very much an indie movie. The lead’s strange characterization is one of the reasons Gosling signed on the project, and director Nicolas Winding Refn was Gosling’s choice. The pieces of the film fall into place, each wanting to add something new.

While charming, Drive is not for everyone. The rough language is focused in Perlman’s character to the point of becoming comedic, but the ever-increasing splatter-gore is apparent throughout. Further, Perlman, Brooks and James Biberi portray gangsters convincingly enough to intimidate those who can handle gallons of fake blood out of context.

Final take: A fantastic action film and the most hypnotic film in a long time.

Those who would enjoy it: Most everyone, particularly fans of film noir, romances and disguised Westerns.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian