Drive

Drive ★★★★½

I'm tempted to say that Drive is an atmosphere, not a movie. That it's not meant to be dissected, but experienced. And it is atmospheric, as it creates a mood I hadn't experienced with any movie before, but I feel like that would take away from how clever it is with its action.

Drive revolves around a stunt driver in Los Angeles, who doesn't lead a particularly tumultuous life. He has a good part-time job and seems content with the life he's living. He doesn't even dream of using his skills to climb up the ladder. However, things take a turn when he starts getting closer to his neighbor and her child. Is it love? He never expresses his pull towards her as such, but it soon becomes clear that'd do anything for her, even if it meant giving up his content lifestyle.

For a film with a premise that seems tailored for an action-packed movie, Drive exists in the breaks between the action. It's the moments between Ryan Gosling's Driver and Carey Mulligan's Irene that drive the narrative forward. Those silent looks of love, their relief to be next to each other. There's not much dialogue present in their scenes, but it's the silence that says what needs to be said.

If it were just those scenes, though, Drive wouldn't be nearly as effective. The film also communicates through its soundtrack and lush cinematography. Its central character is the silent, brooding action hero, yet we're privy to everything he feels. Gosling deserves credit here as well. He's a fantastic actor that shines in roles that demand more from him, but succeeds in mastering the subtlety needed for him to be convincing in this role.

In the end, Drive is both an atmosphere and a movie. It's a moment of content suspended in time, as you're driving through the night with the soft sound of music playing in the background and a film that creates its action through emotion.

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