Movie Review: Drive

I saw Drive a few weeks ago, but am just now sitting down to write about it.  The main reason why is because my podcast, 35 Movie Minutes, is now up and running and we did a podcast discussion about the film.

In general, I was a big fan of the movie. I loved the pace, the quiet nature of things – and the explosion of violence/action that occurs throughout.  Nicholas Weding Refn finally got his shot here and he delivered.  I have loved the Pusher trilogy for quite some time.  It seems as if critics are split on Gosling’s performance (with many more liking it than not)… I would call it a tour de force.  Yes, he’s doing his best to channel stars from the 70’s like Steve McQueen – but so what?  He does it well.  And I’ve missed performances like that.  Everything now is quick-cutting, in your face acting and action – it is all the same shit over and over.  And I like action movies.

The rest of the cast is great.  Carey Mulligan is once again wonderful (has she ever not been?).  Oscar Isaacs does a fine job as her criminal husband in a jam. Albert Brooks is good as the crime boss… but I think Ron Perelman is better here.  The one person who stood out was Bryan Cranston.  His down on his luck auto shop owner didn’t sit well with me.  Maybe because I’m bringing my own Cranston baggage with me.  I know his as the uptight chem teacher/meth cooker – so I couldn’t get past the grease and shmoopy demeanor.

It opens with one of the best car chases put to film… and it’s very stoic in the filmmaking.  No flipped cars, crazy angles or outrageous stunts.  But I think that’s why it is so effective.  From there it continues to keep you interested, mostly carried by Gosling’s unnamed ‘Driver’.  My one issue with the film would have to be the ending.  I don’t want to give it away completely, but I just don’t buy it.  I don’t buy that Albert Brooks is going to do what he does in broad daylight, in a parking lot.  Especially after Gosling does what he does.  Then, the very final moment of the film – no shot.  No way.  He may not be in it for the money, but this shot just eats at me until now.  I don’t need to see him drop it off to Mulligan’s character – but wouldn’t that be a natural reaction?

Anyone else have trouble with that ending?

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