CRIME; 1hr 40min
STARRING: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan
Neighbourly love: Gosling and Mulligan
In a cheerless Los Angeles, Driver (Gosling) works in a garage and drives stunt cars in feature films by day and getaway cars from robberies at night. He is the best at what he does and sphinx-like in his isolation and self-repression. But by no means is he emotionally immune: smitten with his soulful neighbour Irene (Mulligan) and her young son (Kaden Leos), he goes to the utmost lengths to protect them when men to whom Irene’s ex-con husband (Oscar Isaac) owes money become a deadly threat.
Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn’s moody, fluid styling — adapted from James Sallis’s 2005 novel and the winner of the Best Director award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival — prickles with suspense that explodes into a black and ugly mess when Driver gets going. Gosling never wavers from a coiled-spring focus, which, along with the paradoxical grace of Newton Thomas Sigel’s cinematography, brings potency and weight to a litany of killing. An exceptional study in contrasts, Drive is a beautiful film about cold-blooded depravity and selfless love, the place to which it travels both appalling and poignant.