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Movie Review: Drive


Drive may be one of the best action movies of the year, and of the past ten years. Seriously. It's that good.

I don't even know where to begin. It's 3:00 a.m. and I'm at a loss for words. It's shot in this really cool, 80s noir style with lots of long, slow camera shots, thumping techno music, sparse dialogue, great chase scenes, and a cool, steady-handed hero...

The main character, The Driver, is played pitch-perfect by Ryan Gosling. He is a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver when he needs extra money. Right from there, you ought to be able to spot this as a killer film...

The plot is also perfect: The Driver takes a job to help someone out, but it ends up backfiring as he gets involved in a setup and must exact his revenge before he's hunted down and killed himself.

Okay...great character, great plot....are you with me so far?

On top of that you've got some incredible cinematography, some great, pulsing, electronic music in the score, and some really great 80s noir touches, like The Driver's white silk scorpion jacket and leather knuckle-less driving gloves, and the pink script lettering in the titles and credits.

Cinematography: The camera work in this movie sets a nice, tempered pace without being slow. The camera lingers elegantly on the city of L.A. at night throughout the film. The camera also lingers on close-ups of Gosling, who has very little dialogue in the film, and who seems to have studied under the Marlon Brando "Do Nothing" style of acting. But it works. Oh, does it work. This film follows the "Less is More" principle, allowing the scene and the lighting to add the texture that the dialogue doesn't.

Music: German electro band Kraftwerk did part of the score, loading the film with those pulsing, electronic tracks that add a kind of "driving" sense to the film (hmmm...) and emphasize The Driver's cool, detached, intense character.

Overall, this movie has such a cool feeling to it, it's almost an experience more than simply a film. I wish more action films took this approach; less kitch, better filming, more effort to create a feeling, rather than just a special-effects ridden marketing vehicle (no pun intended).

I could go on and on about this...and perhaps I will. But for now, I urge you....go see this film.

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