The one thing that I kept thinking during “Drive” was “1980’s films.”
A lot of this has to do with the musical score, full of pulsing analog synths. Also, some of the Los Angeles locales reminded me of 80’s nuggets like “To Live and Die in L.A.”
“Driver” follows the unnamed Driver (Ryan Gosling), a taciturn guy who drives. That sounds obvious, but driving is what he does. He does stunt driving for movies. He does getaway driving for criminals. He gets recruited to drive stock cars. And, when he takes his cute neighbor out at night, they just ride around.
The Driver works for Shannon (Bryan Cranston), who owns a garage and helps arrange stuntwork for the Driver. Shannon is tied to a mobster named Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks), whose partner is an evil brute named Nino (Ron Perlman).
Life is fine, until the Driver meets his neighbor Irene and her young son (Carey Mulligan and Kaden Leos). The Driver likes Irene, despite the fact that her husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) is in prison and soon to be released.
Things happen, many of them bad, and various people die.
There isn’t much plot in “The Driver,” so I won’t heap on the details.
That’s not a diss, either. I like “The Driver.”
One of my movie pet peeves is when a “normal” character gets involved in a car chase, and suddenly drives like Richard effin’ Petty. There are a few chases in “The Driver,” and I loved seeing the Driver–a professional stunt driver–ably outdrive his opponents. Of COURSE he can outdrive them!
“The Driver” is not an exciting film, nor is it boring. I felt like I was in one of those dreams, where you feel like you’re moving underwater.
What “The Driver” lacks in plot, it more than makes up for in atmosphere. Ryan Gosling was nominated for a handful of awards for playing the Driver. He was excellent, but I don’t think he was robbed by not getting an Oscar nomination. Albert Brooks won a bunch of supporting actor awards, and his performance was great. Still, he didn’t get an Oscar nod either. In my opinion, he deserved to be nominated to lose to Christopher Plummer for Best Supporting Actor (Mr Plummer seems like the only lock this year)
Another big problem I have with movies in general is when a character fires 20 shots from a revolver without reloading. That’s just sloppy.
This didn’t happen here. In “The Driver,” the sloppiness was in its sound. More than a couple times, the Driver would be hauling ass down the road, and we hear the engine roar as he shifts gears…up through like ninth gear. Maybe I’m a dork for noticing, or maybe it’s just that I drive a five-speed so I’m aware of shifting, but that bugged me.
Perhaps ironically, care to guess what The Driver’s lone Oscar nomination was? Best Achievement in Sound Editing. Perfect.