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'Drive' is a bumpy, creative ride

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POSTED: September 23, 2011 2:30 p.m.
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Ryan Gosling looks inside a stunt car in "Drive." By day Gosling's character drives stunt cars. At night, he drives get-away cars.

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If you plan to take a “Drive” with actor Ryan Gosling, prepare for a bumpy ride. The No. 3 film in America also is the most unusual film I’ve seen this year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on what you expect from a movie.
The plot is pretty simple. Gosling plays Driver, but not once do you hear him called by any name at all during the film.
Driver is a Hollywood stunt driver by day, mentored by a rickety old, down-on-his-luck codger, acted by Bryan Cranston.
But by night, Driver earns cash as a getaway driver for hire. His cool professionalism and sheer talent make movies like “The Transporter” seem clownish in comparison.
Deeply solitary and obsessed with driving California’s streets, Driver’s life doesn’t truly get dangerous — even with all the police chases and stunt driving going on — until Driver meets a woman and her adorable kid. The woman is Carey Mulligan, and though the pair quietly smolders with a desire for one another, Driver keeps a respectable distance.
Then Mulligan’s husband returns home from prison and owes his connections one last heist or his family will be killed. Driver decides to step in and help the loser with the job for Mulligan’s sake. That’s when things quickly spin out of control.
“Drive” could have been a run-of-the-mill action film. Instead, some deeply creative minds forged it into a tribute to ’80s music, vintage action films and Spaghetti Westerns.
If you ever have seen the Edward Hopper painting called “The Nighthawks,” I feel that piece perfectly captures the tone of “Drive.” It’s nighttime and a fella and a dame stop in at a mostly deserted diner for some coffee. It’s stark. It’s soundless. It’s very noir. Likewise, Driver rarely even speaks in his own movie.
For being original and for Gosling’s acting, however, I’m a fan!
Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman are the villains of this story. In the most ironic scene of the movie, Driver wears a mask while attacking Perlman. Perlman has made his career of wearing masks for films.

 

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