A man with no name (Ryan Gosling) works during the day as a Los Angeles movie stuntman driver and at night he works as a getaway driver for various thieves. A loner, he befriends his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son (Kaden Leos). Irene’s troubled husband (Oscar Isaac) returns from a stint in prison and this triggers a series of events that dramatically change the routine of their lives.
Throughout the film there is a dated soundtrack and style to it that reminds me of so many bad 80’s thrillers, movie names I can’t even recall now. Drive was made in 2011 so I have to think this was done intentionally but I can’t figure out why. Regardless, it works! The sound track (and clothing) adds to the film's moody style in a way that it almost feels like a cult (think Quentin Tarrantino-eque) classic.
As you might think, there are car chases in this film but they all seem to be done a bit differently than in other movies. There are no cars bursting into flames, violent collisions are kept to a minimum and most of the chase scenes resemble more of a slick game of cat and mouse game rather than a gratuitous high speed chase.
The acting is wonderful. Gosling and Mulligan are terrific as expected.
The big surprise was Albert Brooks playing the mobster. Yes, the comedian Albert Brooks does a beautiful job as a very human and sympathetic mobster, who is also capable of horrible things but only when necessary.
Another surprise was Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). He plays Shannon, an auto mechanic, chop shop,mob associate who is also a father figure of sorts to Gosling’s character.
If you like mob-eque, moody, atmospheric films that are sparse on dialog but loaded with great acting, you’ll enjoy this film.