UK Release date: 23rd September 2011
Watched on DVD Tuesday 5th June 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Having recently tracked down the DVD at a bit of a bargain price I decided to give this critically acclaimed piece the once over. I must say it wasn’t quite what I was expecting… It was so much better! Films like this are few and far between and this one will certainly be getting a prime spot in my collection. More of the praise later… here’s a brief summary.
We never know his name, so we shall call him Driver. He works as a stunt driver for the movies during the day and at night he is available for hire as a getaway driver. If you hire him though, he has certain rules (See ‘Favourite Quotes’ section below). He keeps himself to himself and doesn’t say much. He works at a garage owned by his friend Shannon one day a week. Shannon has plans to start a racing team with Driver as his star, he just needs some backing. Enter Bernie Rose and his business partner Nino a shady pair of characters to say the least. Driver is befriended by a neighbour, Irene, and her young son, Benicio, and he helps them out when he can. When her husband, Standard, comes out of jail he is determined to go straight, but he owes some people a lot of money. Driver agrees to help him pull off a job they have planned for him and this is where I will leave it… the Spoiler Police will have me in a speed-trap with helicopter support (again) if I’m not careful.
An interesting mix of tunes and the back streets of LA form a rather interesting backdrop to this tale. Nicely made with a few nice stunts thrown in for good measure (well there had to be really, didn’t there). On the performance side, well (for me), Ryan Gosling stole the show with his understated performance as the Driver he always had you guessing. Carey Mulligan did a decent job as Irene, although I couldn’t decide whether she was woefully underused, or totally mis-cast. Others worthy of note were; Bryan Cranston as Shannon, Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose, Oscar Isaac as Standard, Christina Hendricks as Blanche and Ron Perlman as Nino.
A very slow paced film, almost noir in the look and feel to it, the tension slowly builds. There are, at times, some scenes of extreme violence that are by no means out of place here. One scene in an elevator (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know which one I mean) is an almost perfect moment of cinema. No dialogue, just a perfect scene (IMO). I did have just one gripe though, and that was the casting of Carey Mulligan; I couldn’t get my head around how someone like her could end up with the guy she was with. Or maybe I’m just reading it wrong, I don’t know. But other than that it’s quite an eye-opening film and one I have no problem in deeming… HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
My score: 9.1/10
IMDb Score: 8.0/10 (based on 185,406 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 79/100: (Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100 (based on 225 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 78/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 72,813 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Driver: [on phone] There's a hundred-thousand streets in this city. You don't need to know the route. You give me a time and a place, I give you a five minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes and I'm yours. No matter what. Anything happens a minute either side of that and you're on your own. Do you understand?
Driver: Good. And you won't be able to reach me on this phone again.
Shannon: Kid, I want you to meet Mr. Bernie Rose!
Bernie Rose: Nice to meet you.
[Bernie sticks out his hand to shake; Driver does not take it]
Driver: My hands are a little dirty.
Bernie Rose: So are mine.
Irene: What do you do?
Driver: I drive.
Irene: Like a limo driver?
Driver: No, like, for movies.
Irene: Oh. You mean all the car chases and stuff?
Irene: Isn't that dangerous?
Driver: It's only part-time. Mostly I work at a garage.
Bearded Redneck: You're Shannon's buddy right? We met last year. You drove me and my brother back from Palm Springs. We hired another wheelman. I spent six months in jail. My brother, he got himself killed. I got this sweet job coming up.
Driver: How 'bout this. You shut your mouth. Or I'll kick your teeth down your throat and I'll shut it for you.
Bearded Redneck: Nice seein' you again.
Bernie Rose: Where's the money now?
Driver: It's in the car.
Bernie Rose: Come on.
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.drive-movie.com/