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Wick's Review

Created Sep 21, 2011 12:53PM PST • Edited Jan 23, 2015 02:55PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    Where did Drive come from? Under-titled and under-promoted, it seems to have sprang from nowhere. Pity, because it’s an extremely invigorating thriller. It also burnishes Ryan Gosling’s growing legend while establishing Nicolas Winding Refn as a major Hollywood director. Wow.

    Few action flicks are this tremendously romantic. Countless female hearts will be set aflutter over Gosling and Cary Mulligan’s achingly modulated relationship, punctuated by a perfect movie kiss. The kiss comes in the most dramatic of circumstances, right before he proves his love for her beyond what she can handle. Wow again. This is great moviemaking.

    It is however an action flick, and a sordid one at that – nasty, savage and titillating. The first from wiseguys talking dirt, the second from several graphic killings, the third from a memorable beat-down in a stripclub dressing room.

    The story is elemental. A Hollywood stunt driver moonlights as a getaway driver. Falling for the apparently single mother who lives next-door with her adorable little boy, the Driver gets drawn into a heist gone bad, with severe consequences for most everyone involved. Several really great chase scenes ensue, along with the aforementioned perfect kiss.

    Mark Drive down as an essential LA movie starring one of today’s greatest actors, Ryan Gosling.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Ryan Gosling has reached a level of stardom where a movie is worth watching if he’s in it. Though not central casting handsome and often thick tongued, his presence rivals that of De Niro, Brando and Pacino. (And his name doesn’t even end in O.) His tools include a long and strong body plus perhaps the greatest moviestar skill of all, the laconic art of silence.

    Of all his terrific movie romances, with Bianca in Lars and the Real Girl or Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine, this one with Cary Mulligan is a topper. His quiet strength and her quiet desperation create a terrifically appealing relationship.

    Mulligan emerges a fully mature American woman here, a world away from the British teenager she played in An Education, her breakout role. Delicate, yet with a clear resiliency, she’s heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. She’s gonna be a star for a long time.

    The rest of the strong cast uniformly impresses.

    • Bryan Cranston as a Hollywood car tuner with a dark past. Breaking Bad? No, broken down.
    • Albert Brooks as a seemingly normal crime kingpin. Mr. Funny shows his dark side.
    • Ron Perlman as his clearly abnormal partner in crime.
    • Christina Hendricks as a hottie henchman. Joan from Mad Men really gets out of the office here.
    • Oscar Isaac jumps off screen as a jealous ex-con who can’t stay straight. Let’s see more of this terrific actor.
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Danish born, NY raised director Nicolas Winding Refn nails LA. While he didn’t use LA Woman in the soundtrack, his film evokes the same tense connection to the city of promise as does the Doors’ classic ode.

    More practically, Winding Refn (that name just don’t seem right) and his writers deftly set up every significant situation, picking each up later in very satisfying fashion. That they do so with a minimum of dialog makes the film a terse delight.

    They also nail a surprising contrast between toughness and tenderness. As an example of the former, I loved how the Driver administered a truth evoking beating to a female turncoat. Play a man’s game, this is how it goes.

    Finally, the chase scenes are flat out terrific – tense, inventive, fresh. As are the fight scenes. Gosling gets more results with fists and a hammer than most movie studs do with automatic weapons. Bravo.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Really Great 4.5

    Pithy to the point of minimalism, the Driver says the bare minimum, always spot on.

  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    The Driver’s shiny metallic jacket with a scorpion on back made him seem like a real life superhero.

  13. Content
  14. Sordid 3.3

    Several exploding heads, realistically portrayed. Beware and be cool.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.0
  16. Violence Savage 3.7
  17. Rudeness Nasty 4.1
  18. Glib 1.8
  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.8
  20. Biological Glib 1.8
  21. Physical Glib 1.9


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