Genre: Thriller, Drama
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston
Synopsis: An unnamed Hollywood stunt driver moonlights as a getaway driver and gets mixed up with all sorts of crazy shit.
I have to be honest: I did not find Ryan Gosling hot for a really long time. Everyone else was swooning over him and I sat there saying “meh” in a disinterested tone. Then, last year, I made a trip to the cinema to watch Only God Forgives with my mum. The whole situation was like 50 shades of awkward thanks to all the references to incest in the film but there was one thing I noticed: Ryan Gosling is smoking hot when he plays violent characters. It was then I realised what his appeal was to me. He is the tough guy with the puppy-like face who can fuck you really hard and then crack your enemies’ skulls with one punch just to prove that he loves you.
I was curious to see if my sick attraction to Ryan Gosling raised its head in the first Winding Refn-Gosling collaboration. Of course it did! In Drive, Gosling plays a hunky Jesus-like stunt-driver/mechanic/getaway driver with a sweet jacket who goes to strip joints to smack around pimps and pushers with a hammer. However, Gosling’s character in this movie is more appealing than the one in Only God Forgives. In this film, he’s neither a hero nor a villain and his complexity makes him an interesting subject. At times you don’t know whether to root for him or condemn his actions but he always holds your fascination. Plus the kiss he gives Carey Mulligan in the lift was epic. She is one lucky bitch who better watch her back because I will cut her if I ever meet her. I will cute her. To. The. Bone.
My Gosling induced boner aside, this film has a lot of strengths. One thing that really grabbed me was the sound effects and the sound editing. The opening scene was pure magic: a pulsing beat that builds up tension for a very clever chase scene which then morphs into electronica coupled with majestic shots of Los Angeles. The opening ten minutes provided a feast for the senses. At times the soundtrack can wander into “80s robot music” territory but for the most part it hits the nail on the head and it gives the film a stylishly retro feel.
Like Only God Forgives, Dive is very violent. I mean like “fork in the eye grindhouse” kind of violent. The violence is gritty and gruesome but it never feels particularly gratuitous. Even the scene in the lift where Gosling beats a guy to death with his fists and boots served a greater purpose. The short and violent outbursts shock and appal but allow the audience to delve deeper into the psyche of the central characters. Although Gosling’s character inflicts some of the worst injuries, there is something raw and powerful about the way he does it. In a way, his violence feels more noble and honourable. It’s a strange way to feel, considering you’re watching people being brutally killed, but that’s one of the great things about this movie: it challenges you and allows your sympathies to wander in a way that may take you by surprise.
- Ryan Gosling doing his wounded puppy pout and showing off the guns and fixing cars.
- Beautiful shots of Los Angeles.
- Smart car chases that grip the audience.
- I want that jacket.
- The violence may be too much for some to handle.
- The story with Mulligan and her kid veers towards cheesy at point…but only slightly.
Drive is undoubtedly one of the best films released in recent years. It packs a powerful combo of both style and substance. I would highly recommend that you watch this film and, even if you don’t enjoy it, it will provide you with some great material for the Ryan Gosling wank-bank.