Award winning actor Ryan Gosling from “The Notebook” successfully executes yet another popular movie, but this time the star isn’t the softhearted romantic we’re used to.
The story begins in Los Angeles, California. Ryan Gosling, a mysterious loner, is a no-name freelance stunt driver, who also inexplicably holds a part-time job of maneuvering criminals with their heists throughout the city.
Living unaccompanied in his shabby apartment, it does not take long before he takes interest in Irene, a susceptible mother who lives alone with her son down the hall, played by Carey Mulligan.
Gosling soon comes to find out that Irene’s husband, “Standard” (Oscar Isaac), is a convict in prison, who is set for release relatively soon. On her husband’s return, Gosling ends up getting purposely involved in a complicated and risky criminal mess brought by Standard’s past.
With a high-standing debt threatening Standard and his family, Gosling takes it upon himself to assist with a treacherous heist in hopes to win back reconciliation and safety for Irene and her son. Unfortunately, after this point things suddenly take a turn for the worst.
Fundamentally, this movie’s lack of character development and plot explanation is overwhelmed by grotesque visuals, an overkill of violence, and a predictable love story. The change of pace from the peculiar perspective of a loner and his love interest ineptly turns into an amateur “Scarface” film, which reeked boredom at the least.
Though Ryan Gosling is a magnificent actor, his hollow and impersonal character he portrays in this film tends to outweigh his talent as a whole. One second you’re seeing a shy, apprehensive Gosling, the next half of the movie he’s bashing in a skull with the sole of his shoe. Scenes that showed Gosling’s true twisted self within his character were meant to be serious, yet had the audience laughing.
The absence of in-depth character growth in the cast was disappointing, and especially a pet peeve for those who crave more of a thorough and interesting story. Instead of this solid foundation of personality that should have been established within each character, the film instead ended up turning into blood, blood, and more blood.
One of the only memorable attributes of this movie was the stunning visuals, which seemed to dominate the entirety of the film’s success. Though Director Nicolas Winding Refn does a beautiful job of alluring the eye of the viewer, he does not seem to do a very good job connecting the characters to the audience.
The grotesque and dark lighting, mixed with cutting-edge camera angles throughout the entire movie had a great effect of leaving a mystifying and mysterious overall tone. The soundtrack—a mix of 80’s, electric, and retro all in one—was distinctive and addicting as well. Other than that, I found myself only wowed by those three things: the cinematography, lighting, and the retro soundtrack.
“Drive” is a compelling ride at first, but quickly crashes into a wall of tediousness and a dull storyline. Although fans of artsy independent films may find “Drive” a unique ride, It’s not a movie for everyone.