Film, Action and adventure
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(30user reviews)

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

It’s been noted before that the irony of film noir was that it came from one of the sunniest places on earth – California. But while the original noir directors went to great lengths to mask the sunlit beauty of their surroundings, from the late ’60s another set of filmmakers took the staple elements of the genre – brooding heroes, gun-crazy villains, desperate dames – and brought them out into the light, making noir simultaneously more glossy, more vivid and, paradoxically, a whole lot colder.

The truly great ‘LA noir’ movies – ‘Point Blank’, ‘The Driver’, ‘Straight Time’, ‘To Live and Die in LA’, ‘Heat’ – share common characteristics beyond the basic clichés of the crime genre. These are movies informed by the city in which they were made, a city constructed of gleaming surfaces – six-lane highways, vast industrial wastelands and endless suburban sprawl – and a place where crime is grubby and small-time, carried out by empty, hopeless loners in hock to dapper despots with unpredictable personalities.

It’s in this world that we find the near-silent hero of ‘Drive’, Nicolas Winding Refn’s self-consciously slick, synth-scored throwback. Ryan Gosling plays the unnamed Driver, a mechanic and occasional getaway guy whose life is overturned when he meets Irene (Carey Mulligan), a struggling mum with a husband in the joint.

As all the above implies, this is a film built on familiarity, in terms of narrative and style: neon lights flash, rubber tyres screech, Gosling broods, Mulligan swoons and a trio of wisecracking, overdressed character actors – Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman and Bryan Cranston – provide both levity and dramatic weight. But ‘Drive’ never drags: this is an entirely welcome riff on old material, a pulse-pounding, electronically enhanced cover version of a beloved standard. Sure, it’s shallow, but it’s also slickly compelling, beautifully crafted and so damn shiny.



Release details

Release date:
Friday September 23 2011
100 mins

Cast and crew

Nicolas Winding Refn
Albert Brooks
Christina Hendricks
Ryan Gosling
Ron Perlman
Carey Mulligan

Users say (30)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:4
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It's one of those bizarre movies where nothing and everything happens, but I like the eerie undertones that lends to the overall feel of the movie.

I like how little we know about the characters and with what we do know, seeing how they interact with each other and the situations presented to them.

Drive is also a master of moods, when it's dark it's gloomy and grotesque, when it's light it's like a dream state, with the carefully crafted soundtrack complimenting each atmosphere.

For me personally it's one of my favourite Ryan Gosling roles, I'm forever happy to see Carey Mulligan, and while I can understand why people didn't enjoy it, I personally revisit this film again and again. 

I really want to love this film as it honours many great movies; Collateral, Taxi Driver, etc. But, I cant. It promises car chase action, but never delivers. Gosling is dull, a pretty vacant character. The mobs are cliche. The love story is too chaste. It's certainly stylish, but very shallow with its story and emotion. Through most of the film, it reminded me of a video games chapter clip, like in GTA Liberty City.

Brilliantly engaging - a mood is created which certainly drew me in. Love the 80s feel. I was shocked by the violent bits, mainly because they were so 'out of the blue' but really no worse than what Tarantino comes up with (of whom I am a fan!) I thought Ryan was impressive, if laconic. But what the heck, it's something a little different! Good stuff.

This film was so violent that I marched it back to the Library at 10:30pm! I did not want it in the house overnight. I couldn't understand why such a star studded cast would take part in this. I decided it was a message to New York from L. A. that we are not so nice after all, you better watch out!

This has to be one of the most boring , tirgid films I have ever had the displeasure to sit through in a long while.....don't be taken in by the pseuds who haven't the guts to tell the truth but would rather huddle in their fawning way to praise this unadulterated rubbish.....Avoid this film like the plague !

Just saw this film and whilst not directly comparing it to the original 'The Driver' it delivered pretty much on the film noir theme i.e. underbelly , quirky characters etc - however Ryan Gosling's portrayal as the eponynomous anti hero is generally good, it is still not as good as Ryan O'Neals in the The Driver and as for Carey Mulligan give me Isabelle Adjani any day of the week ! great soundtrack though and a great cameo by Albert Brooks !

Saw it for a second time. Enjoyed it just as much as first time. I really like the photography in this film - some of the nighttime aerial shots are superb. The opening soundtrack is brilliant - Kavinsky's "Nightcall" (it's on YouTube). The script is good, and often the absense of any soundtrack works very well with the unusually quiet character Gosling plays. All-in-all a very good movie - and as with the film Hanna earlier this year, one that Scrumpyjack, Archgate, and I agree is worth seeing for a second time.

ARCHGATE, Admit, BROOKS "Shut the **** up" in the pizza shop disappoints but minor point. I must agree there's something missing...but he ain't it. "missing" don't add up to jack when we are presented with a scintillating beaut like say a longer version would garner a 10/10 agree?

ARCHGATE, Admit, BROOKS "Shut the **** up" in the pizza shop disappoints but minor point. I must agree there's something missing...but he ain't it. "missing" don't add up to jack when we are presented with a scintillating beaut like say a longer version would garner a 10/10 agree?

Yes, almost a five star vote too for some beautifully controlled careful scenes and perfect soundtrack. Only dropping a star for some of the clichés, but a strong film for an edge of the seat story. You know it's all going to end badly, but you just aren't sure how much so. Probable Oscar nominee for director and lead actor.

I was very impressed by this film. I wouldn't normally venture to a film about bank heists and car chases. The story's pretty good, but it's Gosling's acting, and the excellent photography that make it really worth seeing. I'm not convinced Cary Mulligan added anything that another actress couldn't. Quite violent in places. But on the whole a very good film. 3 stars. Recommended.

Film of the year, and the first film iv'e given 5* since Bad Lieutenant 18 months ago. Exquisite 9/10

Film of the year, and the first film iv'e given 5* since Bad Lieutenant 18 months ago. Exquisite 9/10

I really enjoyed this film. It seemed a little pedestrian in parts - but sometimes the calm before the storm adds to the impact of the maelstrom when it arrives. I agree with some of the other reviewers' comments about the overly loud gunfire. I nearly jumped out of my skin during the heist on the pawn shop! Effective though. I think that, although the film is not perfect – it carries itself perfectly – that is I think the director set out to create a film about a lone ‘gunfighter’ minding his own business, who gets drawn into a catalogue of situations whereby he reverts to the self he has successfully kept hidden. The man is indeed crazier than a box of frogs. The spine story is a fairly well trodden path and, let’s face it, we’ve all probably seen chunks of it before – but not necessarily as well crafted or as effective. It’s like a cheesey 80’s film with far less gorgonzola, but with an intentionally ‘dated’ synth soundtrack that’s so bizarre in places it’s magnificent. A genius close to madness type of thing. Personally I ‘like’ the screen violence (sick I know). If you didn’t get on with the nastier bits of Pulp Fiction/A History of Violence and possibly Hostel – this ain’t for you. There’s not a great deal of shenanigans – but when it arrives it certainly hits with some force. The acting is good generally. Albert Brooks is nothing short of fantastic. If this film were more main-stream – an Oscar nomination would indeed beckon. Gosling is….either brilliant at acting strong, silent and cheesey – or just plain cheesey. Don’t know – but it does work. Good, enjoyable escapism.

Liked this film. Never boring, minimal dialogue, a few very shocking scenes, stylish and a uniquie feel to the whole thing. Recommended.

Enjoyable watch, a few pacing issues and a few too many long silences where some deft dialogue might have helped things along a bit. The soundtrack will stay with you longer than the film.

Agree with longcat and blaize67 - I've no idea what this was trying to do or what it was aiming to be as a film. Crud was what it ended up as. The best part of this trip was finding dozens of big fat chestnuts beside the path on my way back to my car!

What a boring heap of crap this movie is. It could've lasted five minutes. Long drawn out scenes without dialogue and then a burst of gratuitout violence. and more meaningless gazing into each others eyes claptrap. Ryan Gosling is brilliant in Crazy Stupid Love but in this one he is wasted.

True, there is much here that is derivative, particularly of Michael Mann, but the movie creates its own unique feel. Stylish and interesting but I`d question the suitability of one explicitly violent scene in particular.

I really enjoyed this film, which was only marred by the excessive violence. The film is fast paced and stylishly shot. Gosling and supporting characters, particularly Brooks, are excellent. There are unanswered questions, such as the Driver’s motives, but that is a minor quibble. Good movie.

If you didn't like this, you'll love Fast and Furious/Transporter. This film doesn't spoon feed or cater for those people who are happy to sit on the edge of a seat which you pay the full price for. This film's daring, and drive you crazy with love, or mad with disappointment. p.s. The trailer to this director's last film Valhalla Rising was nothing like the actual film too. I think he likes winding people up.

Ryan Gosling, his acting is wicked, this is the film to see brilliant

Ryan Gosling, his acting is wicked, this is the film to see brilliant

the director has admitted he has seen hills driver but he also mentions manns thief which it is more similar in theme tone i enjoyed it immensley thought the soundtrack was memorable not available for months thought the breaking mad stars were underused but brooks was real suprise against type the violence was bum clenching the only film that comes close is the infamous extinguisher scene from irreversable and finally carey muliigan undoubtely the greates weeping actoress in the world but no one drips off a nose as well as her

Funny, Joshua Rothkopf gave this five stars in Time Out NY. It's brilliant and you've completely missed the boat. Luckily, I live in NY. But, to each his own. Cheers.

Funny, Joshua Rothkopf gave this five stars in Time Out NY. It's brilliant and you've completely missed the boat. Luckily, I live in NY. But, to each his own. Cheers.

Unfortunately yet another off the mark review from TIME OUT. Also please can you alter the CSS for this comment box as the text is way too small, this is 2011 not the 90s. Anyway - to the film at hand. Drive is a flawed film but packs one hell of a punch. Whilst the cinematography, settings, music and tone provide a wonderful norish atmosphere to absorb yourself in there are too many longeurs which differentiates 'Drive' from the tautness of similar Mann fare. However there are moments of genuis - notably some of the incredibly loud sound design of gunfire and also the extreme violence which makes for a shocking experience in parts. Perhaps it's all too much style for some but I found Drive sometimes exhilarating, often shocking and sometimes so violent I laughed out loud.

I saw a preview of this and fell asleep! It's boring and horribly violent. I think the director likes Carey Mulligan's little nose. I'm sick of seeing tears spill out of her eyes - has she done this in every film I've seen her in? I'm dying to see Ryan Gosling in something where he lives up to his hype. The older actors were the best thing about this nasty tedious film. Yuck.