trey northcutt’s review published on Letterboxd:
Can't believe it's taken me this long to watch this, but holy crap. Refn is a masterful director and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The way he knows how get every single bit of storytelling out of a scene (even without dialogue) is just incredible. In this day and age, the noir genre is in a bit of limbo, so I liked seeing it work here in a heavily-moderninzed setting. This has one of the best casts for a noir I've seen in a while, headline by Ryan Gosling in a career best. Really great action, great noir themes, as well as a great character arc for the Driver as he tumbles further into the world of crime. There's a scene near the middle where Carey Mulligan's Irene looks on on horror while Gosling beats a guys head in, and the look on Gosling's face is just terrifying. It's almost as if he's enjoying it a little too much. There are a lot of really cool and unexpected twists and turns this story takes with its characters. I like how I went into this one completely blind, so the brilliance of the final act was totally fresh to me. Everything about this was genuinely perfect - from casting, to runtime, to song choice, to lighting and framing, to visual storytelling. I've got to watch this again in the future and dissect it even more. It's just THAT good.