The movies I like best are the ones that feature three things. First, a good story. Second, compelling characters. Third, an interesting way of presenting that story.
“Drive” has all three elements. Ryan Gosling plays a guy who loves to drive. He’s a garage mechanic/movie stunt driver by day and a getaway car driver by night. He befriends his neighbor, played by Carey Mulligan and, later, does a favor for her husband.
The favor? Driving for a simple stickup. But things go bad, people get shot and Gosling’s driver gets involved with some very mean people who want to kill him.
Among the movie’s compelling characters is Bryan Cranston as Gosling’s boss at the garage. Cranston deserves a supporting actor nomination for his grizzled, limping, tragic, chronic victim type.
Albert Brooks is likely to be considered for a best supporting nom as well for his sleazy ex-movie producer turned hood.
Is Gosling Oscar-worthy in “Drive?” Yes, but buzz is stronger for his work in “Ides of March” coming in three weeks.
The main reason this movie soars is its direction. Beautifully shot, gracefully paced. With a soundtrack that constantly surprises and entertains.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn won Best Director at Cannes this spring. He’s certain to be nominated for all the directing awards in the US this winter. His direction is stylish. There are tinges of Tarantino, but without the smirk.
Is “Drive” a classic? Maybe. It’s a movie that will, I believe, achieve cult status and will still be relevant decades from now. Rated “R.”