Monday, February 20, 2012


Drive is a perfect little movie.

A young man (Ryan Gosling) is a Hollywood stuntman on the occasional day, as well as a mechanic, but a getaway driver by night. The best in this nefarious business, he gives everyone a little speech before he works for them, telling exactly what he will do and what he won't do. No one gets close, except for his auto mechanic boss (Bryan Cranston), who sets him up for jobs. And all goes smoothly until he meets the woman who lives down the hall in his apartment building, and her young son.

We never do find out The Driver's name, but then again, that's how he would like it. Totally walled off from human emotion, he goes about his business being perfect and contained. When he meets the demure Irene (Carey Mulligan), however, something in him wants to take care of her and her son, Benicio. It's this strange caring feeling that carries over to her boyfriend who gets out of prison (played by Oscar Isaac), when The Driver offers to help pry him away from the mob's control.

There is no role in The Driver that is small and unimportant, and every actor plays each role perfectly. Oscar Isaac (lately of Sucker Punch), for instance, could be the hardass criminal, but instead shows an honesty, a sincere, caring side that helps The Driver decide that he must protect this growing family. And you'll be surprised when you see Albert Brooks as one of the mob guys. Brooks' and Perlman's characters are interestingly Siamese twins, partners in crime, and it's intriguing to see how that works, and how nasty it gets.

Of course, Gosling and Mulligan are the ones to watch. Gosling has such few lines, and Mulligan has very little to do. But it's how they do it. Stunning.

There is one scene that is very telling of their relationship, a scene in an elevator with no dialogue at all. The Driver and Irene enter the elevator at their apartment building with another unknown man. The Driver recognizes the danger, and gently pushes Irene aside, and then launches himself on the stranger, beating him over and over, until he's a pulpish, bloody mass. Irene backs away from the elevator when the doors open, horrified at the scene and at this man she was beginning to know.

Thumb's up.


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