Spoiler Talk: Drive

Emma Stone.
Rose Byrne.
The talent black-hole that is Channing Tatum.
Natalie Portman.

When this year is over and done with, you’ll realize that every single movie released in 2011 headlined one of these actors, though, like you, I have yet to see Channing Tatum, actually “act” in a movie. With the exception of Tatum, seeing these stars over and over isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the projects they’ve appeared in have been good overall (sorry, Your Highness), and after October’s Ides of March, you can add Ryan Gosling to the Honorary Samuel L. Jacksons.

But before you can see Gosling and George Clooney compare abs in Ides, Gosling opens in this week’s 70ish thriller Drive. As befitting a person on the shortlist for Best Actor of His Generation, Gosling’s character in Drive is nothing like his reformed player in Crazy, Stupid Love or his possible cross-dressing murderer in last year’s excellent All Good Things. In fact, Gosling is THE reason to take the Drive, as he’s the best thing about the film, a deliberately paced (read: slow at times) throwback to 70’s noir thrillers when mood and character (read: lingering close ups) meant more than cheap gratification.

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Movie Review: Drive

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Ron Pearlman, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac and Kaden Leos
Release Date: September 16, 2011

Immediately are we distanced from the majority of groggy thrillers as director Nicolas Winding Refn, working in astonishing form (he won best director award at this year’s Cannes Festival), achieves insistent thrills from the beginning of his new film Drive. Unfurling from the opening credits onward is an excellence and master-class in control and discipline that cannot be disputed. It is a simple chase scene, a getaway driver discreetly navigating a silver Chevy Impala away from the authorities, set during a gorgeously neon-lit night in the heart of Los Angeles. Refn establishes an atmosphere so distinctive that it calls to mind Mulholland Dr., a great atmospheric film with the same vindictiveness Drive has of Hollywood. Drive‘s atmosphere is one that glorifies and harbors masculinity, violence, and existential crises.

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Watch Now: Red Band ‘Drive’ Trailer

Back in May during the Cannes Film Festival one of the movies that was in competition showed up on my radar: Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn from the novel by James Sallis. The film went on to win the Best Director award for Refn, the Denmark-born filmmaker whose credits include the Pusher trilogy, Bronson, and Valhalla Rising. Last week the first trailer for Drive was released following the film’s panel at the San Diego Comic-Con.

You can watch the trailer here below. Be warned though; it’s a red band trailer.

The plot follows a Hollywood stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) who moonlights as a “wheelman,” a getaway driver for various criminals. His double life gets compromised when he becomes involved with a woman (Carey Mulligan) and her ex-con husband (Oscar Issac) and finds himself running for his life from a crime boss (Albert Brooks) and his associate (Ron Perlman). Christina Hendricks and Bryan Cranston co-star and Oscar-nominated writer Hossein Amini (The Wings of the Dove) adapted the screenplay. The film also features heavyweight behind-the-camera talent like cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel (Three Kings, The Usual Suspects) and music composer Cliff Martinez (Narc).

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