Ride out – Taking chances in life is one of those things in life no one talks about and while there are many reasons why that is, it’s something that can be worthwhile. Sure, there are many different levels of doing so, but for the most part the more chances you take, the more likely you will be surprised. “Drive” is not a film many people know about or will even see, but it should be as it finds a way of entertaining you with one quiet surprise after another. The story here is…based on the 2005 James Sallis novel of the same name following the life of a Hollywood stunt driver (Ryan Gosling), who moonlights as a hired getaway driver in his spare time. You see, for this driver who we never find out the name of, it wasn’t about the money or job. It was about the rush of driving and being in that brief moment. For this driver, that meant keeping to a very strict 5-minute window that he expects his clients to abide to. And when he wasn’t driving cars, he was working underneath them in his buddy Shannon’s (Bryan Cranston) garage. It was a simple, yet exciting life for a guy who didn’t know anything else. But, all that would change when he met his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). Not only would he start to fall for Irene, he began to enjoy her son, fulfilling some empty gap he never thought he had. So, when Shannon approached him with his idea of building a NASCAR team, who was he to say no? For once in his young life, he was feeling grounded, but as they say all good things must come to an end and for this driver, it came when Irene’s husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) returned home from prison. Instead of moving forward, however, this driver went in reverse, as his love for Irene led him to help Standard pay a debt back. It was then this story turned upside down as the deeper the driver went, the more dirt he uncovered leading to a wild conclusion full of drama. Who was in it? Aside from Ryan Gosling, who many people will probably only know from “The Notebook,” the cast here is relatively unknown. Sure, there will be one or two that will recognize Christina Hendricks from her Mad Men fame or even Ron Perlman from the “Hellboy” series, but other than that, people only know the name Albert Brooks. They don’t know he was the voice of Marlin in “Finding Nemo” or one of the driving voices in TV’s The Simpsons. Fact is, Brooks is talented and here, showed his “not so funny” side as the mob boss Bernie. I liked that and could very easily see a token nomination going his direction for going out of the box a bit. That’s no slight on what he did, just a fact behind Hollywood with actors doing something different. With that said, this film belonged to Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Sure, Mulligan wasn’t in it a whole lot, but made her presence known proving that nomination she had recently for “An Education” was no fluke. As for Gosling, what else can I say other than this guy continues to impress me the more things I see him in. Yeah, maybe this isn’t the most complicated of roles, but he still pulled it off and made you believe everything he was doing both in and out of the car.Quick and easy – For those that maybe don’t know this, it doesn’t take a whole lot of money to make a thrilling film. I know, what a crazy thought, but its true and “Drive” is a perfect example with its $13-million-dollar budget. All too often I got caught up with how this film looked and felt, as if I was watching a recap of the past 30 years of gritty action thrillers in Hollywood. Nothing was overdone and that’s a pleasure given how much CGI is driving films these days. That’s a credit to Danish director Nicolas Winding Rern, who made sure nothing was faked in this clearly personal film. And that’s probably the greatest accolade I could give it, outside of the incredible soundtrack and appearance on the big screen. Because let’s face it, when your title character basically wears the same jacket the entire film with it only getting dirtier and bloodier, you can’t help but respect that. In fact, his jacket is a great depiction of this film that is almost a throwback to how easy movies use to be before the age of technology started to take over. Bottom Line – There’s no doubt “Drive” is a film made up of many genres in Hollywood. With a little comic lore, film noir and well-placed low budget touches, this film takes you on a journey you never thought was possible. Maybe that’s overstating it a tad, but I can’t help but praise a film that has no issue being itself through and through. B+ For more of Marcus’ takes on film, click here
The above author's byline must be attached to the work if being distributed.