Drive (2011)

Drive is a strange, haunting experience. It tells the story of the unnamed central character, played by Ryan Gosling, a stunt driver by day and getaway driver for hire by night. He falls for next-door neighbour Carey Mulligan, whose husband is soon released from prison and ends up through the husband dragged into a chaotic robbery intended to pay off some protection money.

The whole film has an almost hallucinatory quality to it – a dream-like electronic soundtrack, the strange light and shadows of Los Angeles, a sparse script and (for the first half) the air of something about to happen. That something explodes in the second half of the film; stylised violence complete with wince inducing sound effects and plenty of splatter. That’s not to say the violence is cartoonish. Much the opposite, in fact; it’s real and has consequences. The overall tone of the film is one of slowly building tension, fiercely unwinding as the climax draws nearer. Seeing it originally in the cinema was a claustrophobically immersive experience; seeing it again on DVD it loses some of the raw power and the sense of being plunged into something the only way out of which is to ride it out. It’s by no means for everybody, not only for the violence. Some find the dreamlike state of the film artificial and alienating. If you buy into it, you’ll never look back.

I re-watched this film on DVD at home. I rated it 4/5 on rottentomatoes.com and 7/10 on imdb.com

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