This may not be “The Notebook”, but it a beautiful and genuine love story. The movie “Drive” stars Ryan Gosling as the main character. Referred to throughout the movie as Driver, this character has no past, does not appear to have any friends, and very few clues to his character are provided. This guy drives for a living. Movie stunts during the day, and assorted criminal heists at night. In the beginning of the movie, he appears to be a one-dimensional character, the anti-hero with no name. This is true, in a good way. As the movie progresses, we see Driver beginning to form an attachment to a young mother and her son. This is largely implied with music of unlikely perfection for this type of movie.
One of my favorite things about this movie is the sound. This is a quiet film. There is no unnecessary barrage of meaningless noise. This means that the inherent quality of stillness around Driver is emphasized, as is the obnoxious blathering of some of the other characters. Again, the soundtrack so impressed me that I downloaded it immediately upon getting home, something I have not done since you had to physically purchase a CD of a soundtrack.
The cast is outstanding, with special credit going to Albert Brooks, who plays one of the perfect villans since Gary Oldman in “The Fifth Element”. In my humble opinion, of course. The other characters are all perfectly cast, or typecast, which amounts to the same thing. I was very impressed with Gosling’s ability to convey so much with so little dialogue, but a great deal of credit here must also go to the director, Nicholas Winding Refn.
Although I called this film a romance, it is certainly not your typical formula boy meets girl story. I think that what this movie is really about is isolation, and loneliness, and maybe redemption from both. If you are looking for a movie like the Fast and the Furious, this is not it. If you are looking for “The Notebook”, that will not work either. Nevertheless, if you want to see something totally fresh, totally engaging and beautifully crafted, run, don’t walk to the theatre near you.
One warning-there are scenes of intense violence here. I thought they were very relevant to the movie, but they are Quentin Tarantino-equal in concentration.