Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Gorgeous and Gruesome Coexist 

Wednesday, Jan 11 2012
Comments
As stripped down and propulsive as its robotic title, Drive is the most "American" movie yet by Danish genre director Nicolas Winding Refn. The film is a sleek, tense piece of work that, as a vehicle for Ryan Gosling, has a kind of daredevil control, swerving the actor dangerously close to and abruptly away from self-parody. The plot could nearly be inscribed on the head of a pin: A chivalrous loner—Gosling's Hollywood stunt driver/wheelman—participates in an armed robbery to help out the woman he loves; the deal turns out to be a setup, and the body count explodes. Drive is nominally set in the present day, but the 40-year-old director elects to emphasize the retro—synthesizing Miami Vice's languid dissolves and neon-limned dive bars, Blade Runner's nocturnal skylines and Top Gun's MTV-friendly lyrical montage interludes. Refn's most obvious break with the airbrushed '80s and clearest link to his own early films is the ultraviolent, even gruesome, splatter that comes once Gosling's near-catatonic driver agrees to the heist. It's one of Drive's jokes that, over the course of the movie, Gosling's spiffy silver jacket will be increasingly bloodstained. The Gosling character is not only a master of high-speed bumper cars but, when riled, also a near-lunatic killer who, as up close and personal as the protagonist of Refn's Bronson, uses a hammer, some steel-tipped footwear and his bare hands to take care of business.
Jan. 13-19; Jan. 27-Feb. 4; Wed., Feb. 8, 2012

About The Author

J. Hoberman

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Slideshows

  • Fear FestEvil 2015
    Calibree Photography brings back photos from Fear FestEvil 2015 at Rockbar Theater in San Jose on Friday, April 11. Performances included freak shows, and bands: Ghoul, Orchid, and High On Fire.
  • Cherry Blossom Festival @ Japantown
    Beth LaBerge brings back photos from the 2015 Cherry Blossom Festival. Events continue next weekend including the parade on April 19.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed