If you decide to make a movie it is best to have a story deserving of the honor. If you have a story that is going to take up 100 minutes of audience time, but only have about 30 minutes of plot to work with, what do you do? You produce Drive, a mismatch of other films and characters.
On the bright side, the actors are all good in an immoral sort of way. Ryan Gosling plays the lead. He is the strong and silent type who drives a car for a living. Sometimes for stunt work in movies, other times as a get-away man for petty crooks. He doesn’t say much. He just drives. The review you are reading has more words in it than RG utters in the entire film. Carey Mulligan, recent Oscar nominee for An Education (2009) is a sort of love interest for RG but mainly along to look cute and shed a few tears. The bad guys are really bad. They are played by good actors Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks. Russ Tamblyn shows up as back alley Doc who stitches up RG in one scene. He can be heard whistling the Jets song from Westside Story while operating.
The 1st hour of Drive is slow moving, almost like the film is caught in a traffic jam. The last 45 minutes turn into a story of revenge and bloody death. A car chase (using cars that look like the one in the famous Steve McQueen chase sequence in Bullitt from1968) takes place followed by a string of grisly deaths and destruction as RG, who up to now has acted like the Paul Newman character in Hombre, turns into the Anthony Perkins character in Psycho (1960) and the mild mannered, barely talking, only-having-a slight-grin-on his-face-from-time-to-time hero, begins to use everything from his shoes to his cars to make mush out of the bad guys. He does a good job of it.
This is a film that is all style and little substance. Many will say it is classic “Noir” story telling. If it is, then Noir means heavy on snooze and sleaze. It’s got a lot of both.
Copying everything from Taxi Driver (1976) to the Lee Marvin film Point Blank (1967) and its 1999 remake with Mel Gibson known as Payback, Drive is not for the squeamish.
You might want to wait for the Drive-In version. Then drive out.
Rated 2.1 out of 4.0 reasons the film makers need a dose of film school 101. They already know how to Drive.