Generally favorable reviews - based on 43 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 993 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Drive is the story of a Hollywood stunt driver by day, a loner by nature, who moonlights as a top-notch getaway driver-for-hire in the criminal underworld. He finds himself a target for some of LA's most dangerous men after agreeing to aid the husband of his beautiful neighbor, Irene. When the job goes dangerously awry, the only way he can keep Irene and her son alive is to do what he does best—Drive! [FilmDistrict]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
  1. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Jul 19, 2013
    Drive works as a great demonstration of how, when there's true talent behind the camera, entertainment and art are not enemies but allies.
  2. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Sep 13, 2011
    Drive feels like some kind of masterpiece - it's as pure a version of the essentials as you're likely to see.
  3. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Sep 15, 2011
    The movie has you from its nearly wordless opening sequence.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sep 15, 2011
    So it's a fun, if not exhilarating, ride, one sped along with the help of a wonderfully assembled cast.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Sep 16, 2011
    With its emphasis on relationships and character, Drive can best be described as a thinking man's action film -- or at least, it could if it didn't ultimately feel so oddly slight. As it is, for all of its positives, it functions mostly as a guilty pleasure rather than as a movie that resonates the way, say, "Blue Valentine" does.
  6. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Sep 15, 2011
    Nobody puts the "angst" in "gangster" like a European director. When the director's a Dane, you can count on gloomy, chilly visuals and deliberate pacing. And when the director is Nicolas Winding Refn, who made the "Pusher" series in his native country and "Bronson" in England, you can expect intense, often brutal spurts of violence.
  7. 40
    Every bit as dumb as August's "Conan the Barbarian" but awash in neon-lit nightscapes and existential dread, with killings so graphic that you can't entirely believe what you're gagging at.

See all 43 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 64 out of 340
  1. Feb 15, 2012
    At its most basic level, Drive could be described as "The Transporter with a brain". If you yourself possess even half a brain, you'll realise that it is so much more. Drive is a beautiful, thematically rich and powerful film. The whole cast are superb, with Ryan Gosling imbuing The Driver with a deep, brooding emotion, and making him a very engaging protagonist despite him being a character of very few words. It's a true testament to Gosling's skill as an actor that he can communicate to the viewer so much about what his character is thinking through a single facial expression, or physical act. The Driver is also the epitome of cool, from his scorpion-emblazoned white jacket, sunglasses and Clint Eastwood-esque toothpick, to the leather driving gloves he dons and the unassuming analogue watch he fastens to his steering wheel when on a job. Carey Mulligan is also extremely believable as single mother Irene, and has great chemistry with Gosling. It is because this central relationship, this unlikely romance works that The Driver gains much of its emotional leverage, and with the addition of a surprisingly effective soundtrack of soppy electro-pop love songs, the few moments of intimacy that The Driver and Irene share, and the ultimate tragedy of their story, is all the more affecting. Bryan Cranston is brilliant as always as the crippled garage owner and low-level mob dealer Shannon, Ron Perlman is entertaining as Jewish mob heavy Nino and Albert Brooks is simply terrifying as Bernie Rose, the psychotic razor-wielding mob boss who serves as the film's primary antagonist. The film is about fractured identity, and about redemption through good deeds. This never more clear than through the characterisation of The Driver. He remains nameless throughout the film, only referred to in relation to his profession - he is a functional tool before he is a person. It is only through his steadily growing love for Irene and her young son Benicio, and through his quest for justice in punishing the Los Angeles criminal underworld that he finds his humanity, and symbolically saves his soul, proving himself to be a real person. Building on these philosophically heavy themes, Hossein Amini's script is deceptively simple, but effective - he gives his characters enough to say to communicate their feelings and map their growth over the course of the film, but pleasingly he doesn't fall into the trap of convoluted, inherently unrealistic dialogue purely designed to show audiences how clever the film is. These are real people, speaking (or not, in The Driver's case) as real people do, and the film's heady themes speak for themselves, and Amini knows this, and smartly doesn't resort to highlighting them in his dialogue, which would have made it heavy and laborious, rather than honest and minimalistic as it is. Drive is not just an achievement for clever writing, but also a visual triumph. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel uses his experience working frequently with Bryan Singer extremely effectively here - like in X-Men or Valkyrie, he is demanded in Drive to adapt his filming style to a number of visually and tonally different sequences - whether it's an expansive aerial shot of the glittering L.A. skyline, or a frantic car chase, or a more mellow and intimate moment in Irene's apartment, Sigel always rises to the challenge and creates something visually striking. The cinematography, married with Matthew Newman's masterful editing and the effectively moody film noir lighting used throughout the film, Driver becomes a real thing of beauty. Nicholas Winding Refn continues to prove his talent as an extremely creative, intelligent director that isn't afraid to challenge his audience. He's also extremely adept at handling action, without reducing himself to mainstream drudgery - the car chases and shootouts are all entertaining, but aren't dumb and obvious, and have more in common with the work of Martin Scorsese than Michael Bay. Refn clearly knows that less is more, and is prepared to make you wait, to really rack up the tension before giving you a blood-soaked or tyre-smoke clouded payoff, and the set-pieces are far more powerful as a result. Drive is many things - a religious allegory, an intense psychodrama, a tender love story, a gangster-thriller, a film noir, and it even has much of the iconography and themes of a classic Western. It looks great, sounds great, is well-scripted, clever without being pretentious, packs a real emotional punch and is extremely well-acted, particularly by the mesmerising Gosling. Simply put, Drive is stunning. Expand
  2. Jan 11, 2012
    The fact that this movie is so polarizing is what makes it great to me. I am in the category of those who truly enjoyed the movie. Plenty will argue because there is a lack of dialogue but so much is said with a look or a gesture or an action. I found the main characters engaging and hard to forget and I had the movie playing in my head for weeks. I was pulling for "The Driver" and cared for him though the details of his past were left a mystery. I think if I had known more detail I would've liked it less. I don't need to be spoon fed. I would like to imagine myself what type of upbringing he had to create the complex character he has become.

    I think those that panned the movie were looking for something than more than what is was which is a love story and a study of sociological and psychological disconnect. I believe most were expecting something ala The Fast and the Furious which I am so glad it was NOT!

    Go and see this picture and judge it for yourself but don't just push it aside because you heard from someone it was terrible. One man's junk is another man's gold I suppose...
  3. j30
    Sep 20, 2011
    You're either going to love or hate this movie, as you can see from the user reviews already. Fantastic film, great on so many levels. Thank God it wasn't a Hugh Jackman Fast and the Furious film, as it was planned before Ryan Gosling got the lead. In addition he personally chose director Nicolas Winding Refn.. However, more users would have liked it if Michael Bay directed and Hugh Jackman staring. Expand
  4. Nov 11, 2011
    One of the best move of the year. Great soundtrack, good acting and very bizarre but likeable atmosphere. I think this is unique film, however the ending was a little bit overkill. Great job. Expand
  5. Feb 6, 2012
    Ya know, it's funny because one of the reasons I love this movie so much is because it feels like an '80s movie. If "Drive" came out in the 1980's, we would still be talking about it today. It would be sitting in our movie shelves next to our other favorite '80s action films, a fine spot next to "Lethal Weapon" or "Die Hard." I can imagine a young Tom Cruise or maybe even Patrick Swazye as the lead, a driver who is a stuntman for movies by day and a getaway driver for robbers by night. I can see Mia Sara as the sweet, innocent girl who lives down the hall from the driver, and whom slowly becomes attracted to him. And I sure as hell could see someone like Jack Nicholson playing the mobster out for the Driver. That movie would be awesome, and yes we'd be talking about it today. Alas, "Drive" came out in 2011 and that's okay, we are all the richer for it. For the driver we got Ryan Gosling, for the love interest we got Cary Mulligan and for the mobster we got Albert Brooks. All three actors are honestly more than breath-taking, completely fascinating with all they are given to do. That '80s vibe gives this movie the extra boost of cool. It's got Grand Theft Auto:Vice City style lettering during the credits, it features music which sounds like British New Wave (THE best music of the year) and its style and tone is very appropriate. If you check this movie you'll find something to enjoy. Expand
  6. Jan 2, 2012
    Not sure who was paying off the critics who said this movie had style. From the purple title fonts to the music, this film was more a ripoff of 80's cheese than something original. The plot was mediocre and stolen from at least a couple movies already made with Jason Statham. I can only explain Ron Perlman in Hollywood by the Jewishness of his last name as he seems to make movies into B movies with his very presence. Gossling's character is peculiar enough to make the movie watchable and shares so few words with Mulligan's character that if Drive 2 ever were to get made I'm sure we'd learn that their both aliens that actually communicate with their minds. Brian Cranston from the incredible Breaking Bad series does his part as a likable character, but as with the rest of the characters seems underdeveloped. The action won't make you spill your popcorn. It's an ok movie, but certainly not worthy of the very good reviews it has gotten by critics. Expand
  7. Feb 22, 2012
    How in the heck does anyone like this movie? This movie was the worst piece of garbage I've ever seen. The music "score" was just god awful and Ryan Gosling's acting was absolutely deplorable. The only thing that saves this movie is Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman. Otherwise, this movie was poorly written, directed and scored. The music and opening credits sound and look like they were recycled from the 80s, yet the movie takes place in 2011. Music played when it shouldn't have been played. The "love" plot between Gosling and the girl from Monk was the dumbest story I've ever seen. They literal say only three words each when they speak to eachother, but pause for about 8 seconds in between their "dialogue." e.g. "Thank's for helping me" (pause for 8 seconds) "No problem" (pause for 8 seconds) "Want a drink?" (pause for 8 seconds) ... you get the drift. Expand

See all 340 User Reviews


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