Drive ★★★½

Despite being only a few years old, DRIVE is a defining film for its generation and everyone involved. It's sparked the love of film for many, put one of the most polarizing filmmakers of today on the map and it even semi invented its own retro hyper-stylized genre. It's amazing to think of a film that's so quiet and simple pack such a powerful punch, but DRIVE does exactly so with complete ease and artistry.

Before being known as the contentious man he is today, Nicolas Winding Refn came out of nowhere with this film by doing the impossible and mixing an unlikely blend of art house cinema with splashes of exploitation violence to (obviously) create a poignant love story. It's a phenomenally directed film that primarily uses its glossy style, LA setting and synth pop soundtrack to propel its narrative forward, but at the center of all these transfixing aesthetics is the real focus, our nameless hero; The Driver.

Ryan Gosling was already a big name at the time, but this role is what really proved him as a definite movie star, as he showed he could easily go from mainstream Hollywood to esoteric indie flicks in the blink of an eye. Everything from his suave and quiet demeanor to his rad scorpion jacket, makes him the ultimate Zen badass. He may not elicit any emotion, but that doesn't mean it's not there, as we get to see what's really boiling underneath his surface when the wrong guys push the wrong buttons.

That being said, most people were turned off by this movie at first as they probably expected a movie called "DRIVE" to feature well, more driving. Yes there's a few of these chase sequences and they're handled in much more grounded way than your typical racing film, but DRIVE is not about this. It's a character study, a love story, a tale of an existential hero continuously hoping to define his odds by trying to do the right thing.

It may not be the film it was initially advertised to be or maybe even what you wanted it to be, but with a little patience and awareness, DRIVE will offer more to you than anything you were ever originally hoping for.

Heather Alvarado liked these reviews