After watching the trailer for “Drive,” I was convinced not to see the full movie. It seemed like a remake of “Transporter” with updated special effects, and I was not a fan of “Transporter.” However, after too many recommendations from friends to ignore, I decided to give it a chance. And “Drive,” starring Ryan Gosling, proved me wrong, swapping frilly special effects for intricate plotlines and understated but impressive chase scenes.
The opening of the movie is engaging in spite of its abnormal effects. With pink cursive writing flowing to a bizarre soundtrack and a scene in which the driver (Gosling, his character’s name is never actually given) appears to be wearing denim on denim, the movie gives the audience a typical 80’s feel despite its realistic filming. The juxtaposition is awkward at first, but as the movie develops the contrast becomes refreshingly poignant, as does Gosling’s minimalist but solid portrayal of a good guy put into a bad situation.
While the movie lags slightly after a thrilling opening, it quickly picks up again and delves into a complicated plot that never underestimates the intelligence of its viewers. There are so few lines of dialogue that every time a character speaks, the audience is forced to listen with their full attention so as not to miss an important development.
While the film is considered to be a thriller, it closely follows the driver’s personal relationships. But his romance with Irene (Carey Mulligan) doesn’t burden the film with overemphasized sexual tension, instead developing simply through longing glances while 80’s music plays in the background. It’s romanticized and not only provides a relief from the harshness of the rest of the film, but enables viewers to see what exactly Gosling’s character desires so deeply. He is willing to sacrifice everything to protect the purity of Irene and her son Benicio from the violence of his world, even if that means removing himself from their lives entirely.
While I will no’t spoil the ending for you, I will tell you that I was totally captivated for the final fifteen minutes, and I’m still ruminating on the ending. It was one that I will not forget. The realistic filming and thorough character development make this a movie that I would recommend to the avid as well as the amateur movie watcher.