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Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac ... see more see more... , Christina Hendricks , Ron Perlman , Kaden Leos , Jeff Wolfe , James Biberi , Russ Tamblyn , Joey Bucarro , Tiara Parker , Tim Trella , Jimmy Hart , Tina Huang , Andy San Dimas , John Pyper-Ferguson , Craig Baxley, Jr. , Kenny Richards , Joe Pingue , Dieter H. Busch , Chris Muto , Rachel Dib , Cesar Garcia , Steve Knoll , Mara LaFontaine , Teonee Tbrasl , Ralph Lawler

Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can't help f... read more read more...alling in love with his beautiful neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac). After a heist intended to pay off Standard's protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defense for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals. But when he realizes that the gangsters are after more than the bag of cash in his trunk-that they're coming straight for Irene and her son-Driver is forced to shift gears and go on offense. -- (C) FilmDistrict

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78% liked it

110,738 ratings


93% liked it

235 critics

DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

Stats: 16,102 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (16,102)

  • November 25, 2013
    This film is a very slick and awesome conscious mix of contemporary and retro aesthetics and stylization, and, even though I'd prefer the decade for the retro callbacks to be the 70s instead of the 80s, this is still a wonderfully art directed (and artsy) action film.

    Instead of... read more taking a page from stuff like The Fast and the Furious, this is a car movie that, as I mentioned, goes for a far more retro look and feel, yet still throws in plenty of modern sensibilities. It's an action movie, but it's also very artsy, a tad pretentious, and the sort of action film that people would normally hate action movies can get into and enjoy.

    In a way, this is a very philosophical film that really grooves on existentialism, mystery, and ambiguity. Our lead is a guy credited simply as Driver, but also referred to as Kid. We don't know his real name, or really all that much about him, aside from surface details. He works in a garage, does part time work as a Hollywood stunt driver, and spends his nights moonlighting as a getaway driver for hire for any criminal that wants him.

    He really doesn't say much, but as they say, actions speak louder than words..and when he gets into some nasty business with the mob after a job gone wrong, his responses really get nuts. Mostly that has to do with his neighbor lady (and prospective love interest) getting targeted too, something that Driver just can't stand for, especially since she's an innocent.

    So yeah, this film has a very simple, familiar basic premise, and there's not much in the way of character development or heavy , heavy plot, so it's mostly all about the fun stuff like the action and the stunts. What''s funny though, is that the film isn't wall to wall action. When we do get bursts of violence though, they come swiftly, unexpectedly, and things get rather graphic and shocking at times.

    Where the film puts almost all of its focus then is on mood, tone, and atmosphere, and, if you dig ambience, then this film will definitely satisfy. The cinematography, music, editing, and all of that is just gorgeous, and the costumes (all hail cool gloves and jackets) rock, as do the cars. The film is sorta deep in a very ponderous way, but I enjoyed it.

    It's probably not really as deep as it wants you to think it is, mostly because it is very vague, and the dialogue is quite sparse at times, but hey, sometimes it's okay to just loosen up and let things flow, even if not a long happens (until the sudden bits of violence from time to time). If the film had spent some more time giving insight into the characters, and really developing them a lot more, then I'd definitely bump this up to a full 5.

    As it stands though, I just can't quite do that. I do dig the performances here. Gosling is definitely starting to eclipse Depp as the epitome of cool, and there's nothing wrong with that. He's a bad ass, even if his lonely and mysterious ways can sometimes be frustrating. Carey Mulligan is nice as Driver's neighbor/potential love Irene, even if she does spend most of her time looking at him longingly without saying a word. Oscar Isaac is good in his role as an ex-con who decides to play the part atypically. Bryan Cranston also delivers solid work as always as Driver's main business associate. The villains though are where the film gets juicy. Perlman of course is stellar, but yes, as tons of people have already stated many times before, this film features an excellent villainous turn from funny man Albert Brooks. He's played baddies before, but this is the first time he's played one that was legitimately scary, intense, and intimidating. Damn the Oscars for snubbing him, because he's brilliant.

    Blah, blah, blah. You should have picked up on how I feel about this film at this point. It's awesome. Go see it. It's not a perfectly brilliant piece of work, but I definitely do think it lives up to the hype.
  • July 1, 2013
  • June 23, 2013
    A dark, visceral, patient and mind-blowing experience. One hell of an exhilarating and insanely cool movie. An adrenaline-pumping thrill-ride that never stops. A stylish, taunt, intense, shocking, brutal and captivating new film. A fast, furious and very original thriller. It kee... read moreps your pulse-pounding and heart racing all the way to the end. An instant classic. A hard-boiled and explosive edge of your seat thriller. It packs lots of great style, hair-trigger suspense and white-knuckle action. It has a 80`s retro style feel that works wonderfully and has a great soundtrack. Director, Nicolas Winding Refn crafts an incredible and slick film that has no equal. A masterpiece. A tremendously entertaining and outstanding movie. The directing and acting are all flawless. The all-star cast truly delivers. Ryan Gosling is riveting, he brings a quiet, sensitive and surprisingly tough pressense to his great performance. Albert Brooks is electrifying, he gives the performance of his career. Brooks has never shown this side of himself in a film that i have seen, i hope he dose not hide it for other projects because he was brilliant. Ron Pearlman is explosive. Bryan Cranston is terrific. Carey Mulligan is wonderful.
  • June 6, 2013
    Much slower pace than I anticipated -- it's not really an action film. Gosling, like always, delivers an excellent performance.
  • March 12, 2013
    My favorite movie of 2011. It kept me in a trance the whole time.
  • December 25, 2012
    When I got home after a long drive from the cinema, I wasn't entirely sure why 'Drive' was getting the praise it was getting. Coincidentally, I had travelled up to North London to pick up a new car. As my local area's cinema coverage is poor, the only place I could catch 'Drive' ... read morewas in London. The plan was to pick up the car, find my way onto the M25 and see an afternoon screening in Romford, Essex. Unfortunately, this proved to be a minefield of stress, Romford was packed full of people and cars, I was sure that I'd miss the screening, but I'd got far enough into Romford for me to persevere. I got there just in time, but it was these conditions that led me to make one of the biggest misjudgements in my film watching history...

    I was attracted to the style of 'Drive', but more, perhaps macabrely, to the supposed violence of it. The film is spattered with torrents of claret, stark shankings and devastating gunshot wounds; there's also a spot of stomping. The film dishes out violence as it is, ugly and nasty.

    The film started strongly, Gosling was convincing and intimidating, and he remains that way throughout the film, but surely playing the strong silent type is easy money? 'Strong silent type' is something of an understatement, the man is utterly devoid of conversational skills, only when he is working or amidst the drama of the latter half of the film does he fire up. Gosling is reminiscent of Clint Eastwood's iconic anti-hero roles; but I also made a connection with Dustin Hoffman's performance in 'Rain Main'. It's this extremity that perhaps makes his relationship with Irene (Carey Mulligan) slightly implausible (some of their interactions are stupidly painful). Despite this, I think the Driver's growing intensity and his dexterity in violence is gripping; Gosling really nailed it.

    After my first viewing I was really quite ambivalent about 'Drive'. "The film wasn't bad" I thought, "I'm glad that I saw it". I liked the exciting and somewhat smart and fresh car chase in the introduction; I liked the mood of the film. For the most part, I felt it was the prior knowledge of the film's uncompromising nature that created the sombre, moody atmosphere. It was also the fitting, bass heavy electronic soundtrack that complimented the night sequences. But I left the cinema feeling somewhat hollow; I was preoccupied with how I was going to navigate the M25 and the Dartford Crossing.

    Despite the film having lack of depth and a meagre ending; its unforgiving nature made the film stay under my skin. It made me think that perhaps a second viewing would change my opinion, but on first viewing I couldn't agree with its surprisingly positive reviews, and certainly not with the current 'tomato meter' of 93%. I was surprised at how the film was actually being complimented for being vacuous, "How has it managed that?" I thought.

    After coming to the conclusion that perhaps a second viewing was necessary, I did just that a few months later, and I preferred it, quite a lot in fact. I suppose I knew what to expect, so I made the most of it, lapping up its style and visceral edge. How on earth did the film possibly make a white padded jacket with a yellow scorpion on the back cool? And the driving gloves, they just reek of cool, oh and that black Ford Mustang... I am so impressionable. It got my heart pumping like few other films had accomplished; I really couldn't believe how the film had grown on me.

    I vehemently disagree with the supposed 'subtexts' some people have mentioned. I have read condescending statements on how viewers should 'look closer' to 'understand' the film; pompous nonsense from pseudo-intellectuals.
    Ultimately, though, like so many films, especially those that fall into the revenge/retribution format (think Death Wish/Taxi Driver), they're good until the last stanza, they're hard to wrap up. But I even preferred the ending on second viewing, it leaves unanswered questions; out of the ways they could've ended it, this was probably the most appropriate choice. Drive is an engrossing, genuinely nail-biting film. Though it is a trifle superficial, it's guaranteed to thrill you.
  • November 15, 2012
    Probably the best movie of the year. No one will know it, unfortunately, since everyone watched Lion King 3D this weekend (really people?). Gosling and Mulligan control the audience -- from laughs to tears to disgust -- in spite of the fact I think there are no more than 20 lines... read more of dialog in the first 30 minutes of the movie. I'll refrain from saying something more in homage to their understated performances. The real story here is ... the storytelling. Unlike Hanna, the artistic touches used to enhance frames never felt heavy-handed. Slow builds to mini-climaxes featured a very effective "fluid flashback" technique that made these moments feel like Gosling revving his engine before speeding away from a LA traffic light. Yeah okay, I'll stop. Just go see this movie. In theaters -- you'll have a lot more fun that way.
  • fb582267962
    October 4, 2012
    Haunting, provocative, shockingly violent and eerily presented, Drive is more an experience than a film.
    Refn has nailed the mood of this film, providing us with an unsettling and anxious feel that constantly has us on the edge, even when nothing much seems to be happening on scr... read moreeen.
    And that's exactly what happens! Moments of unsettling 'not much happening here' to flashes of over the top 'hell of a lot going on here'!
    Gosling plays the part-sociopath-part-psychopath 'Driver' to a T, although the somewhat drab and prolonged character study on display may be a little tedious for some.
    The faux-pas 80s sound track works well for the film and deadpan direction, but at times seems a little tacky and desperate.
    Overall, this is a mature film targeted at a direct audience; primarily those with an open mind.
  • September 20, 2012
    Few directors have been able to straddle art-house and exploitation as ably as Nicolas Winding Refn. He was raised on the French nouvelle vague, but was inspired to become a filmmaker after seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. His films are often rooted in generic convention but a... read morere lofty in their ambitions and adventurous in their approach to characters. With Drive he has cemented his status as one of Europe's coolest directors, mixing art-house and neo-noir to create a future classic.

    For fans of exploitation and genre filmmaking, it doesn't take long to see that Drive comes from very familiar stock. It is at its most basic level a B-movie, a pulpy thriller with a classic heist-gone-wrong plotline and a series of dark criminal dealings. There are clear through-lines with Taxi Driver and the films of Paul Schrader, with their protagonist as God's lonely man surrounding by a world filled with corruption and hopelessness. And in its more thoughtful moments, the film resembles existential thrillers like Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai, Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger, or Anton Corbijn's The American.

    The first real success of Drive is its acceptance of its B-movie origins, and its use of said acceptance as the foundation for something a lot less ordinary. Had its story been handled by Quentin Tarantino, the film would have thrust its references down our throats in the midst of unlikeable, unbelievable characters - we would, in essence, have ended up with Death Proof 2. Tarantino's recent efforts have attempted to embrace or ride on the back of exploitation cinema while not obeying any of exploitation's rules about brevity and self-awareness. But Refn is more honest about his background: he has no problem with applying its principles, giving us a film that feels well-oiled and efficient.

    The only common ground that Drive has with Tarantino is its combination of highly stylised visuals and brutal violence. If you wanted to be pithy you could describe it as a simpler, more streamlined Pulp Fiction, albeit with only one storyline. The violence in both films often erupts from nowhere, and neither Refn nor Quentin pull any punches. The scene where Ryan Gosling's character beats up a man in the lift is akin to the scene in Gasper Noe's Irreversible where Albert Dupontnel beats an anonymous gangster to death with a fire extinguisher. The film earns its 18 certificate for this scene alone, not to mention the sight of Mad Men's Christina Hendricks being shot to pieces.

    While Tarantino described Pulp Fiction as a tangential look at the various clichés and story arcs of the pulp genre - for instance, what do hit-men do between jobs - Refn has likened Drive to a Grimm's fairy tale. He envisioned The Driver as a modern-day knight in shining armour, roaming the land saving damsels in distress and defending what he believes is right by whatever means are necessary. He cannot commit to relationships because his life's calling leads to him being frequently put in danger and thereby risking harm to others.

    But while the mediaeval knights, in fairy tales at least, were seemingly pure of heart and noble in intentions, The Driver's moral compass is a bit more complex and askew. While he desires to keep others from peril, he is almost drawn to it, either because he knows no other way of life, or because he is actually psychopathic, and we are lucky that his psychopathy is not driven by harming us. His attachment to cars and the thrill of driving them is borderline symbiotic, and while he is never reckless in his pursuits, you always feel he secretly craves being in danger. Why else would a getaway driver spend his day doing dangerous stunts? It's hardly the most convincing cover story.

    When I reviewed A Royal Affair two months ago, I talked about how the central romantic conflict at the film reflected the Arthurian legends, specifically how the fatal affair between Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere led to the downfall of both Arthur and his kingdom. While Drive isn't so bold as to suggest that The Driver's attraction to Irene will doom both them and their world to destruction, their relationship is similar in that it shakes their world to its foundations. Irene's devotion to her husband is no longer as strong or unconditional, while The Driver's abstaining from attachment - his chastity, if you like - is brought into question by his strong desire to protect her.

    The film is rooted in the great performance of Ryan Gosling - a performance which seems to have single-handedly lifted him out of the indie leagues and onto the Hollywood A-list. Comparisons have been drawn with Clint Eastwood's The Man with No Name or with Steve McQueen, but in fact Gosling's performance is closer to the work of Charles Bronson. Not only is there a vague connection to Death Wish in the later section of the film, but Gosling is far more laconic and brooding even than Eastwood. Put simply, he doesn't need to do or say much to convince us that he isn't warped or threatening in some way, and even when he does speak, it's rarely reassuring.

    Gosling is supported by Carey Mulligan, who continues to impress in roles where she seems at odds with the world around here, following on from her performance in Never Let Me Go. Bryan Cranston, best known for playing Hal in Malcolm in the Middle, is completely unrecognisable as Shannon, disappearing behind the scruffy beard and make-up to create a really slippery character. There is also good support from Albert Brooks, playing completely against type, and Ron Perlman, doing anything but. The only performer who is underused is Christina Hendricks: it's such a small and relatively thankless role that you wonder why she was chosen for it.

    While the cast are pretty stellar (Gosling in particular), the really memorable aspect of Drive is its aesthetic. It's ultimately a film which is interested as much in the surface as the subtext: it regards the storyline and fairy tale themes or motifs as being every bit as important as the sound of the car's engine, or the colour of the clothes The Driver wears. There is a vaguely Lynchian tone to the proceedings, with the film treading close to the territory of Lost Highway in the paranoia and identity crisis of the central character.

    Because the story of Drive is so relatively straightforward (compared to either Lynch or Tarantino), its strength lies in marrying the different aspects of its aesthetic together. The film is shot by Newton Thomas Sigel, best known for his collaborations with Bryan Singer. He gives the film a glossy, 1980s sheen, borrowing the title font from Risky Business and drawing on his work on The Usual Suspects to make even the grimiest detail seem perversely pleasing. Refn's compositions are excellent, particularly during the lift scene and the few incidences of actual driving.

    The film also benefits from a superb soundtrack from Cliff Martinez, former drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers who worked with Steven Soderbergh on Traffic and sex, lies and videotape. Not only do the synth pop choices make sense within the context of the film, but the soundtrack is very well-mixed, taking account of the variations in noise emanating from the party and the movements of Refn's camera, for instance as it pans across an empty bench towards a ringing phone. The engines in Drive are a soundtrack unto themselves, with Refn following the lead of Bullitt and the Mad Max trilogy in allowing them to score the driving sequences without the interference of 'real music'.

    Drive is a great film which is set to become a classic of this decade. It epitomises everything good about filmmaking in 2011, without falling into many modern traps or feeling ashamed of where it came from. Gosling's central performance combines threat and bravado with undeniable charisma, and the whole product runs like a well-oiled machine. While it's arguably too familiar or generic to be considered a perfect film, it contains everything needed to make it genuinely great.
  • fb1442511448
    September 4, 2012
    Silent yet subtle in dialogue, but grizzly graphic and adrenaline-fueled in action. Drive is that sleek masterpiece with a soundtrack and ensemble that artistically exemplifies the upbeat vibe of the film. 4/5

Critic Reviews

David Thomson
June 24, 2013
David Thomson, The New Republic

What it had going for it was an uncanny and moving relationship between Gosling and Mulligan. Full Review

Tom Huddleston
September 21, 2011
Tom Huddleston, Time Out

Sure, it's shallow, but it's also slickly compelling, beautifully crafted and so damn shiny. Full Review

Anthony Lane
September 20, 2011
Anthony Lane, New Yorker

In grabbing our attention, [Refn] diverts it from what matters. The horror lingers and seeps; the feelings are sponged away. Full Review

Christopher Orr
September 16, 2011
Christopher Orr, The Atlantic

The extreme and escalating violence will prove off-putting to some-frankly, I'm surprised not to have been among them-but for the rest, Drive is a needle-punch of adrenaline to the aorta. Full Review

Lisa Kennedy
September 16, 2011
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

In reworking genres without quoting shamelessly, Refn proves himself his own man and a guy quite capable of taking us places we didn't even know we wanted to go. Full Review

Tom Long
September 16, 2011
Tom Long, Detroit News

Drive is pedal-to-the-metal stuff. Don't get behind the wheel unless you can take the rush. Full Review

Rick Groen
September 16, 2011
Rick Groen, Globe and Mail

This is no antic-frantic affair; instead, it's a cerebral game of stop-and-go, hide-and-seek, as the director behind the camera handles things exactly like the guy behind the wheel - with a stylish mi... Full Review

Laremy Legel
September 16, 2011
Laremy Legel,

The pace of this film is a beautiful thing to behold, as Drive is a patient but taut thriller. Full Review

Stephen Whitty
September 16, 2011
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

For stone-cold, retro action fans who are tired of all these over-edited, underachieving thrillers - well, here's one car chase movie that isn't running on empty. Full Review

Peter Howell
September 16, 2011
Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Anyone watching Drive won't be able to take their eyes off Gosling. Playing a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman for criminals, he rocks like a young Steve McQueen or Robert De Niro. Full Review

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    • Nino: That is one motherfucking, fine-ass, pussy-mobile, mothafucka'! Damn!
    • Driver: "How about this? Shut your mouth...Or I'll kick your teeth down your throat and shut it for you."
    • Driver: You give me a time and a place, I give you a five minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes and I'm yours. No matter what. Anything happens a minute either side of that and you're on your own. Do you understand?
    • Driver: You ever heard the story about the scorpion and the frog?
    • Irene: Hey.
    • Driver: Hi.
    • Irene: Sorry about the noise.
    • Driver: I was gonna call the cops.
    • Irene: I wish you would.
    • Driver: Now you just got a little boy's father killed. You almost got us killed. And now you're lying to me. So how about this: from now on, every word out of your mouth is the truth, or I'm gonna hurt you.

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Drive Trivia

  • Film soundtracks (You Drive Me) Crazy - Britney Spears Name that film (clue's in the title)  Answer »
  • What is the city which Harry and Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber drive to?  Answer »
  • Which movie has this tagline : " A woman in search of stardom. A woman in search of herself - in the city of dreams. A key to a mystery - lies somewhere on Mulholland Drive " ?  Answer »
  • Which movie is the following quote from? You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your f&%$?@g khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.   Answer »

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