Kat’s review published on Letterboxd:
When I first watched Drive, a couple of months ago, I wasn't really wowed by it. I thought it was good - good acting, good cinematography, good music; good elements, but elements that didn't necessarily add up to anything particularly special. It seemed really simple to me, the plot unfolding from A to B with only a few surprising diversions. All in all, I admired it for what it was, but what it was didn't seem to be all that complex.
On rewatch, it's the simplicity that makes the complexity - the story doesn't become more complicated, it's just that every single aspect of the film (the actors, the cinematography, the music, the décor, the costuming...) all swells together perfectly, imbuing meaning into every single shot. At some moments it's obvious (the elevator scene; for example) but every scene, every shot, is perfectly constructed to forward the plot or the characters.
Ryan Gosling is just perfectly cast in this. In my original write-up, I wrote about how I had a nightmare about the Driver after having seen this for the first time. This time I feel like that's absurd - yes, the Driver projects blankness and coldness (hence my dream), but he's also vulnerable-heroic, a man for hire and a man who becomes human by become a hero. The violence is striking, shocking, visceral, but the moments of tenderness are just as rending (the scene where Irene meets Shannon, for example; the moment outside the party; the Driver's smiles.)
The supporting cast are sublime, and like the separate technical effects that come into play together, they weave in and out of the film, sewing the fabric of the film's magic together like embroidery. Drive is perfect, a masterclass of atmosphere, and nothing's quite like the feeling that ending delivers.