Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Pearlman, and Albert Brooks 

Earlier this year Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson) took home the best director trophy at the Cannes Film Festival for Drive.  Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine and The Notebook) plays “Driver”.  He is a  mechanic and Hollywood stunt man by day and a wheel man for higher by night.  Driver develops feelings for his neighbor, played by Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan (An Education and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), and her young son .  Driver must help defend his neighbors from members of a crime syndicate played devilishly by Albert Brooks (Finding Nemo) and Ron Pearlman (Hellboy).

The film begins with an exciting car chase but then quickly turns in to a gentle love story.  The tempo is slow and romantic.  The genius of this film is the ease in which the director  leads us so convincingly from romance into violence.  I was completely invested in the love story, and then the tone changes dramatically.   The violence is brutal and graphic but  is a natural response to the events of the film.  Driver's compassion for his neighbors is always at the heart of the story.  This is not violence for violence sake.

Ryan Gosling is a true leading man.  Forty years ago this role would have been played by  Charles Bronson or Steve McQueen.  Not many actors today have the machismo to pull off this kind of character.  Gosling has smoldering good looks.  I am not sure his contemporaries could manage with just a stare and a toothpick.  His sexiness is effortless, but his talent is huge.  Gosling's passion for his work is in every scene.  There is not a wasted moment in his performance.  Carey Muligan is beautiful and so vulnerable in the film.  Her character is a true innocent thrust into an awful situation.  Muligan is going to be stepping on to a much larger stage very soon in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby along side DiCaprio and Toby Maguire. With one Oscar nomination under her belt, the sky is the limit.

Director Refn made all the right choices.  The cast is perfect.  There are nods to what must be his affinity for 1970 era action films.  His choice of music added to the emotional punch of the film. (Take a listen to A Real Hero performed by College)  Drive is a little bit Tarantino with a little bit Before Sunrise mixed together in an art house action picture.  It is flawless in almost every detail.

fashionadofilm score 9 out 10

fashionadofilm Jamie Clemons