‘Drive’ takes audiences through tailspin

With “Drive,” Ryan Gosling has officially transformed from being Hollywood’s go-to sentimental charming actor to becoming one of its badass alpha males.

Add the stylish direction from a young and upstart filmmaker in Nicholas Winding Refn and you have yourself a piece of cinema gold.

“Drive” is based on a 2005 novel of the same name by James Sallis.

Ryan Gosling assumes the role of the “driver” or “kid” — as he’s often called by his boss, Shannon — in Refn’s newest film.

It’s very rare for the main character to be without a name.

But when one examines Hossein Amini’s eccentric screenplay, it makes sense his name is unknown because of his enigmatic and complex personality.

Set in Los Angeles, “Drive” centers around the driver (Gosling), who works part time as a car mechanic at a local garage for his boss, Shannon (Bryan Cranston).

In addition to that, he also works as a Hollywood stunt driver and as a getaway driver for armed heists at night.

The driver is a very calm and lonesome individual trying to live by working various side jobs.

Early in the film, the driver develops a close relationship with a young woman living next door in his apartment complex named Irene (Carey Mulligan). Irene is a mother of one, living alone with her son after her husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), went to prison.

After Standard comes home, he thanks the driver for looking out for his wife and his son.

The next day or two, a racketeer named Cook (James Biberi) demands “protection money” from the ex-convict and threatens to come after his wife and son if he doesn’t pay it.

The driver decides to help out Standard and the two team up with another accomplice, Blanche (Christina Hendricks), to rob a pawn shop to pay off his debts to Cook.

However, the heist doesn’t go according to plan and Standard is killed by the pawn shop owner during the heist. The driver, in a state of shock, quickly takes off with the money and is pursued by Cook, who ironically planned to steal the money taken in the heist.

The driver and Blanche make a clean getaway, but he now knows that he, Irene and her son are not safe as the mob threatens their safety. It’s now up to the driver to take down the mob and put a stop to their pursuit.

Having the feel of the classic film noir genre, there is little dialogue in the movie. In fact, Gosling doesn’t speak until about 10 or 15 minutes into the film. Rather, the storytelling is done with vivid cinematography and intense action sequences.

Despite working with a script that has little dialogue in it to begin with, Refn succeeds in conveying the plot.

While most filmmakers would be hung up in the action scenes, Refn doesn’t go too in-depth with the car chases, violence and killing. Instead, he focuses more on the characters, particularly the driver and his development in opening up more to the outside world. Despite taking up illegal activity as a getaway driver for criminals, he has good intentions, which is exemplified when he takes a vow to protect Irene and her son.

Come February, “Drive” could take home several Oscar awards or at the very least pick up nominations for them. “Best Adapted Screenplay” could very well go to Amini, while Gosling surely has to be in the discussion for “Best Actor in a Leading Role.”

JACOB TARR

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