Written by / 9/17/2011 / No comments / , , , ,

DRIVE

title: DRIVE
year: 2011
cast: Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks
rating: **1/2

If M. Night Shyamalan directed Walter Hill’s THE DRIVER, it might have turned out something like DRIVE, a metronomic, Noirish thriller with a little action on the side.

Story involves a brooding, nameless Hollywood stuntman who doubles as a getaway driver, and winds up falling for the girl next door (the next apartment over). She has a son and a boyfriend in jail, who, once he gets out, owes money to some bad dudes who wind up endangering the family. So the driver, played by Ryan Gosling with a serious scowl and very few words, gets involved…. And winds up in deeper than expected. Meanwhile, his unlucky mechanic/manager partners up with shady mob-connected partners Ron Perlman and get this, Albert Brooks: playing a sadistic killer and doing a passable job.

The purposefully monotonous synthesizer music is reminiscent of 1980’s soundtracks like RISKY BUSINESS, and it provides an omnipresent vibe of suspense, the scant storyline doesn’t always back it up. And while there are a few good action scenes, there’s not enough danger for our protagonist to equal the suspenseful tone concocted through the score: which gives a constant impression anything can happen next. Or perhaps Gosling plays it a bit too cool to have to worry about anything, or for us to worry about him.

The film itself looks slick and neat but seems a bit too artistic for its own good. And while THE DRIVER had Bruce Dern as a pesky cop on Ryan O’Neal’s tail, this needed that one character to keep the protagonist, and the audience, more alert throughout. But there are some decent payoffs, and a lot of blood and guts.
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