Wednesday, 21 September 2011


If you've seen Nicolas Winding Refn on BBC Breakfast describe violence like 'fucking' (see here), you might think that this was a rather gratuitous use of the word from a seemingly unapologetic European director. But once you see Drive, there really is no better way to describe the instantaneous nature of violent outbursts depicted in his latest movie.

Ryan Gosling (some dude from The Notebook) stars in this highly stylised heist movie, about a good intentioned stunt driver who gets mixed up in doomed robbery. In order to protect the ones he cares about - a single mum (played by the ever-so-sweet Carey Mulligan) and her child - he must go after the ones responsible. The mild mannered driver is consequently thrown into a world of brutality and questionable loyalties.

He drives... apparently.

Ironically, Drive does not feature any fucking or sexualised elements, and instead focuses on Gosling and Mulligan's softly spoken words of affection. And whilst its use of violence verges on the pornographic, it never stops being conscious of what it's trying to demonstrate - the monstrous capabilities of the desperate. The (unnamed) Driver is simply a man with his back against the wall, and is therefore at liberty to do anything. So violence that might be considered quite tame in a normal gangster movie (Scarface, Godfather etc. etc.) is earth shatteringly shocking in Drive because of its unassuming protagonist.

Of course, a lot of reviews have been focusing on the use of 80s chic in the movie (the awesome music and Miami Vice-like opening credits), which is cool but gimmicky. Despite the LA setting and the occasional homage to car chase movies of the 80s, there really is no need to give Drive this faux-identity.

But Refn has undoubtedly created something quite unique from an extremely tired genre, which is no mean feat nowadays. Bravo.

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