Sep 252011
 
Authors: Jason Berlinberg

Most movies follow a similar set of conventions that have seemingly been in place since the beginning of time.

A new action film called “Drive” takes these practices and destroys the 3-D-loving snot out of them.

The movie stars a reserved Ryan Gosling as Driver, a Hollywood stuntman by day and a heist getaway driver by night.

His work gets him involved with some shady individuals that force him into a fight for survival.
The film’s director –– a Dane named Nicolas Winding Refn –– is known to not hold back when it comes to violence in his movies, and “Drive” is no exception.

At the film’s midpoint, this characteristic goes into overdrive and gets pretty bloody for those not used to Refn’s style.

But it is not exploited; everything is put in the movie for a purpose. Most importantly, the actors play each of their respective roles perfectly.

This is especially true of Gosling, whose constrained guardian mentality creates an almost superhero-like quality that is impossible to ignore.

It’s as if he goes into his element –– plays his role –– whenever a dangerous situation arises.
Other notable acting performances come from the always-reliable Bryan Cranston and Carey Mulligan, as well as the menacing Albert Brooks.

Although it’s an action film, “Drive” is not an in-your-face, cheap thrills type of movie that relies on explosions to entertain; it’s much more complex than that.

Even when there are several shots that simply focus in on the characters with no dialogue, tension and pacing outdo that of a “traditional” action movie.

These non-traditional aspects of “Drive” are certain to divide audiences, but a significant payoff awaits those who are able to accept Refn’s existential production.

Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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