If I were going to make a cool movie I would add the following ingredients: trendy and controversial director (preferably Scandinavian), at least one of the cast of Mad Man, music that wouldn’t be out of place in an 80’s nightclub and, of course, Ryan Gosling. How strange it is then that the team that conceived of Drive followed my checklist point for point. In doing so they have created a hellish vision of Los Angeles that is one part madness, two parts genius and one part splattered brains.
Gosling is, once again, on top form simmering his way through scene after scene like Harry Potter’s unattended cauldron. If there’s a broodier performance this year then I’ll be very surprised. It’s easy to see why Carey Mulligan falls for him although the reverse is slightly less understandable (other than the fact it’s Carey Mulligan). Mulligan was, reportedly, not Winding Refn’s first choice for the role and something of the word ‘miscasting’ haunts her performance. It’s a petty complaint about a British actress who has, within a couple of years, become a global superstar with a series of phenomenal performances.
Where the film flies is in the kinetic beat that pervades the entire experience and makes watching cartoons with the little kid as exciting as the car chases. The movie often threatens to explode into Eli Roth style extreme violence (Is he going to hammer a bullet into a guy’s forehead?) and there’s a certain corpse in an elevator that might disagree with the assessment that it doesn’t. Violent or not this is exciting filmmaking and that’s to be endlessly encouraged.
Sure to be divisive and non film buffs might find it as enjoyable as a cold curry but this is one of the most searing and ambitious films this year.
|Director:||Nicholas Winding Refn|
|Starring:||Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks|
|Running Time:||Let's say 90 minutes|